Ad Mensam: table ceramics


During the five centuries when Forlimpopoli was a Roman city, fine tableware evolved with the fashions and styles of the time, which were influenced by new models created by a local workshop or another, and often imported from geographically remote workshops that were able to diversify their production and consolidate their market position. During the Roman Republic, tableware varnished in black was all the rage, while beginning with the reign of Augustus or slightly earlier the height of fashion was to have cups, bowls, and plates varnished in red, whether smooth or decorated with motifs and scene that were either traced on or carved in relief. This latter type of pottery became known by the name “arretina”, after the city of Arezzo, which was renowned for the quality of its ceramics, in use throughout Italy. The other term by which it is known– terra sigillata, or sealed earth – comes from the habit of certain workshops to brand their products with seals. Also used as tableware, ‘thin-walled’ pottery stands out for its very thin walls, and because it comprises exclusively cups for drinking. They began to be manufactured around the end of the Roman Republic and during the reign of Augustus, and manufacturing continued until the 2nd century AD. During this time, there was some variety composition and colours of the ceramic blends and the way their surfaces were decorated: the latter were sometimes varnished dark gray, and other times embossed with semi-liquid clay, a technique known as “barbottina”.