Barro negro pottery ("black clay") is a style of pottery from Oaxaca, Mexico distinguished by its color, sheen and unique designs. Oaxaca is one of few Mexican states which is characterized by the continuance of its ancestral crafts, which are still used in everyday life.
The color of barro negro is due to the properties of the clay, and is not colored. The earth used to extract the clay is cleaned to remove impurities, which can take a month of soaking and settling out the clay from the rest of the soil. After this process, each piece takes about twenty days to complete.
The pieces are fired in underground pits or above ground kilns, using wood fires that heat the objects to between 700 and 800 °C. When they emerge, the polished pieces are a shiny black and the unpolished ones have a grey matte finish.
Barros can be placed on a direct flame and can be used on a gas ring or in a Mexican Chiminea. They maintain heat to keep food warm, ideal for dinner parties.