Art Encyclopedia - Burnish
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The word burnish means to make something smooth and glossy through rubbing. In printmaking it is used to describe the action where a burnisher tool is used to smooth the printing plate before printing. The term is also used in regards to pottery and metal sculpture.
Burnishing in pottery describes the action of polishing of the surface of the pot using a spatual of wood or bone before firing. Burnishing the pot in this way leaves the pot surface shiny after the firing process. Patterns can be burnished on the pot surface by leaving some areas matt and polishing other areas.