negative painting

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A style of painting where the central image or motif is left blank and paint is applied all around it to colour or emphasize the surroundings. In pottery‐making negative decoration was often achieved by covering the design area with a paint‐resistant substance (e.g. wax, gum, clay) and then dipping the whole pot into paint or dye before it was fired. Alternatively, the pot might be either smoked or dipped into a black wash. The dark coating is unable to reach those areas of the surface protected by the resistant substance, and when the latter is removed, the pattern stands out in the original colour against the black background.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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