Bossa Nove

At the Festa della Ceramiche in Nove on 13 September, the local tradition of Bossa Buffona was reborn as ‘the Bossa Nove – the quaffing jug of love’ – the traditional jug retaining its pre-eminence and giving birth to the Bossa Nove (New Jug).

Energitismo supported the creation and presentation of this infamous quaffing jug. It is designed and fashioned to cause all to laugh at the expense of the drinker. The tradition of Bossa Buffona started in Nove 400 years ago as a joke to be played on the bridal couple.

The core requirement of the jug is that it must be impossible to quaff from it. So another means of obtaining the nectar of Bacchus must be found. Interestingly, it could be a way to limit excess alcohol consumption (it may have been the idea of a Calvanist priest or of a frustrated bride following the excesses of her groom).

But where there’s a will there’s a way and even God deigns making a challenge that is certain of failure. And the way is that of the ‘sucker’ not of the quaffer, but not just any sucker, a sucker with a fine sense of playing the bagpipes, selecting the mouth tube and then placing the fingers adroitly to close off the air holes – and then the nectar flows.

It wasn’t a lack of brides in this famous Alto Veneto town that caused its demise. It was the gradual disappearance from the workshops, and into retirement in the cafes, of the artisans who each devoted about 8 hours to create a jug. Maybe fashions changed with a surfeit of American TV so that brides and grooms no longer accepted the risk of being buffooned, or maybe the desire to quaff proved too strong.

The Bossa Buffona was and is more than a joke, it is a work of ceramic art requiring not just great dexterity of the potter’s hands to create the rustic elements of the jug plus a fine artist’s skill, but also careful plumbing, structural engineering and understanding of the possibilities of two-handed interdigital-agility.

At the Festa, several new designs and sizes of Bossa Nove were shown with gold and platinum glazing thereby connecting the two historical local threads of pottery and goldsmithing. Adriano Spigarolo, as master potter, entertained the crowds for the two days carefully decorating and ’rusticising’ two jugs with the help of dozens of junior potters eager to learn the secrets of grappling with a clay grape.

Meanwhile, Claudia, Giampietro Zonta and Daniela Raccanello regaled visitors with histories, some even partly true, of the exploits of Bossa Buffona and now the Bossa Nove throughout the years.

Keep tuned, Bossa Nove will soon be released for sale through Energitismo. Contact us for more information or to arrange a visit to the workshops and showroom in Nove.