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Other research product . Other ORP type . 2022

Spanish lustreware from the western Black Sea coast, 14th–15th centuries

Manolova-Voykova, Mariya;
Open Access
Published: 22 Dec 2022
Publisher: Association of Bulgarian Archaeologists | Асоциация на българските археолози
Country: Bulgaria

The paper presents for the first time the imports of Spanish lustreware in Bulgaria. For a long time such ware remained neglected probably because there have been very few finds usually representing an insignificant segment of the ceramic assemblages from medieval settlements. However, to assume a supply of western goods is more than reasonable given the wide trade contacts of the Tarnovo Tsardom and the Dobrudzha Despotate during the 14th c., and the dominant role of the Italian maritime republics in the Black Sea trading region. The targeted search for Spanish imports in several museum collections confirmed their presence in six settlements along the Black Sea coast: Sozopol, Varna, Kastritsi, Kaliakra, the fortresses of Rusokastro and Petrich near Varna. The pottery included in the paper illustrates the 14th to 15th c. imports of the following well known in the European studies subgroups of Valencian production: loza valenciana malagueňa dorada y azul; loza valenciana dorada Pula; loza valenciana dorada clasicá. The presence of some 16th c. post-Valencian products, most probably originating from the workshops of Muel, Saragossa, is also suggested. Most of the examined finds show that Iberian imports, even though just a few, reached Bulgaria between the 1330s and the late 15th c., most likely due to Italian merchants. Numerous written sources prove that the main reason for the active policy followed by Genoa and Venice was the export of cheap cereals and raw materials. There is no explicit information about the import of ceramics but given the connections of the two maritime republics with Spanish ports, especially the Genoese ones, it can be assumed that they supplied luxury lustreware to both Bulgarian lands and cities on the North Black Sea coast.


import, Spanish lustreware, Medieval, Black sea, pottery, trade

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