Greek Pottery from c. 1000 to c. 400 BCE provides not only some of the most distinctive vase shapes from antiquity but also some of the oldest and most diverse representations of the cultural beliefs and practices of the ancient Greeks. Further, pottery, with its durability (even when broken) and lack of appeal to treasure hunters, is one of the great archaeological... [continue reading]
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Trustees of the British Museum
published on 02 August 2011
A distinctive red and black colour scheme characterises most of the painted pottery of sixth- and fifth-century Athens. The colours result from the skilful exploitation of the high iron content of Athenian clay by an ingenious process of differential firing. The black areas of a black or red-figured pot were coated in a fine solution of the same clay... [continue reading]
published on 12 April 2013
A Greek ceramic plate used for serving fish and seafood. A central depression collected any excess oil. The shape was popular in both Attica and Magna Graecia. Attic dishes almost always have the fish painted with their underside towards the outer edge whilst in southern Italy the underside of the fish was nearest the plate's centre. This example is from Attica... [continue reading]
published on 20 December 2012
The François Vase is named after Alessandro François who found the vase in Chiusi in Etruria (central Italy) in 1845 CE. This Athenian volute-krater dates from c. 570-565 BCE and is signed by the potter Ergotimos and the painter Kleitias. It is an example par excellence of Attic Black-figure pottery and is decorated with 270 labelled human and animal figures from Greek mythology.
The François Vase is a large Attic volute-krater dating to c. 570-565 BCE, and it is perhaps the example par excellence of the black-figure pottery style. An astonishing range of scenes and characters from Greek mythology cover the vase and make it an important reference for these stories, some of which no longer exist in written form... [continue reading]
A detail of a 7th century BCE amphora displaying the common design motifs of the Geometric style of Greek pottery. The style was in use from 900 to 600 BCE in the Greek world and involved decorating vessels with simple linear motifs and stylised figures. From ancient Thera, Santorini. (Archaeological Museum, Thera).
Red figure skyphos or cup (410 BCE) depicting a nude athlete holding a strigil - used to clean the body of oil, dust and sweat after exercise. To the left is possibly a mid-race marker post. Attributed to the Amykos painter, Lucana (Southern Italy). (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
A boxing scene from an attic red-figure kylix (c. 500 BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A depiction of a chariot with charioteer on an attic black-figure kylix (510-500 BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Attic ceramic kylix or drinking cup (490-480 BCE) depicting an erotic scene. The male holds a sandal, often used as an instrument for stimulation in erotic games. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)