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Portugaise Barbotine... What is this ?

Portugaise Barbotine... What is this ?

What is Barbotine ?

Barbotine is a mixture of liquid or semi-liquid clay, often referred to as "clay slurry," used in the art of ceramics. This material is employed to create sculptures, pottery, and various decorative objects.

The uniqueness of slip lies in its fluid texture, allowing ceramic artists to shape pieces with great precision and reproduce fine details.

Casting slip into a mold


The creation process involving slip typically entails pouring or applying this clay suspension into a mold or directly onto a surface. Once applied, the slip can be molded and sculpted before being fired to harden the material and give shape to the final object.

Finishing a barbotine piece - Luisa Paixão collection


The slip technique is renowned for its ability to capture intricate details and nuances of nature. Pieces created with slip can depict fruits, flowers, or other elements of everyday life with striking realism.

Galinha barbotine - Luisa Paixão collection

The origins of barbotine

The art of barbotine, also known as "barroco" in Portugal, has its roots in antiquity. The technique has evolved over the centuries, carried by the skilful hands of craftsmen throughout the world.

Late 19th century barbotine pitchers - Paris Drouot auction


In France, Italy, Austria, and around the world, ceramic workshops showcase their skill and creativity, competing to present the most exquisite pieces using the slip technique.

Pair of late 19th century Barbotine vases from Austria


In Portugal, this tradition thrives during the Renaissance, drawing inspiration from Moorish, Roman, and Iberian influences that have shaped the artistic landscape of the region.

The 19th century marks the pinnacle of slipware art in Portugal, witnessing the transition from the utilitarian nature of pottery to the recognition of artistic ceramics.

19th century Barbotine - Bordallo Pinheiro Museum


Thanks to the presence of clay-rich soils, the city of Caldas da Rainha becomes a major production center in Portugal with renowned workshops such as the Fábrica de Cerâmica das Caldas da Rainha and the Fábrica Bordallo Pinheiro.

These workshops then produce a wide range of slipware objects, from vases and figurines to azulejos (decorative tiles) and sculptures. In the city, there are no less than three museums dedicated to ceramics.

  • Ceramic museum,
  • Bordallo Pinheiro museum and
  • José Malhoa museum
Museu de Cerâmica - Caldas da Rainha


In modern times, the art of slipware continues to thrive in Portugal. After being somewhat overshadowed by global modern trends, slipware is resurfacing on our tables with renewed appeal.

Barbotine pieces from Caldas da Rainha - Luisa Paixão collection


Like a rediscovered gem, this ancient technique is once again captivating numerous contemporary artists, inspiring them to create original and innovative works. For instance, the Riveira collection designed by the prestigious French floral artist Christian Tortu highlights this art form and its remarkable details.

La barbotine : Arts and crafts

The art of slipware provides limitless creative freedom, allowing artists to express their imagination freely and create inspiring works.

Each piece of slipware is crafted by hand with passion and meticulous attention to detail. The manipulation of clay, precise sculpting, and delicate painting contribute to giving each creation its unique character.

Experimenting with slip on a ceramic vase - Luisa Paixão collection


From vases adorned with lush vines to sculptures of vibrant fruits, slipware indeed provides an infinite palette of artistic possibilities, seamlessly combining functionality and aesthetics to brighten interiors and enchant tables.

The forms of fruits and vegetables in slipware celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature, serving as a reminder of the significance of agriculture and the importance of environmental respect.

Vases en barbotine - Collection Luisa Paixão


The figurines and sculptures, often depicting traditional characters, animals, and scenes from everyday life, remain a popular element of Portuguese craftsmanship.

Ceramic Lobster - Luisa Paixão collection


Handmade tableware, often decorated with traditional motifs or original shapes.

Barbotine Dish - Luisa Paixão collection

 Discover the largest collection of Barbotine pieces available online

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