DRY CORD TECHNIQUE. 12TH CENTURY JUG
Small table jug (20 cm high) from the Almohad period, made between the 12th and 13th centuries, discovered in the dungeon in the Wine Gate (Puerta del Vino).
This jug was decorated using the "cuerda seca" (dry-cord) technique. This involved reproducing on ceramic the effects achieved by enamelling metals, for which purpose the outside of the piece is decorated with manganese oxide lines which mark out the design to be applied to the piece. The spaces inside these lines were then filled in with a glaze in another colour. When the piece was put into the kiln for firing, the manganese lines kept the different areas separate and prevented the colours from mixing.
In this particular piece, we can see various plant and geometric motifs and some italic epigraphy (the words HAPPINESS and PLENTY), for which the craftsman used green and black.
This jug is an excellent prompt to talk about other types of ceramics, and other decorative techniques which were also very popular at that time, such as manganese green, lusterware and sgraffito. Various techniques were often combined in the same piece.