Hand-painted potteries are extraordinary art pieces that date back thousands of years when the famous Greek potteries were developed from a Mycenaean tradition. Apart from the unmatched beauty of the handmade paintings preserved on these vases, their forms were also exciting with numerous variations. The longevity of these vases is exceptional thanks to the material used for them which was fired clay, also known as terracotta.
VASES FROM THE DISTANT PAST
Painted Greek potteries bear great historical significance since there are so many of them left intact despite their age. Due to this, they are also valuable when found in pieces because they can still be reassembled or studied to determine their place of origin and the time of their creation revealing more archaeological sites to be explored. Additionally, the illustrations may contain valuable insight into ancient religion, the daily life of people, and society so their historical importance cannot be overstated.
THE MANY FORMS OF GREEK POTTERY
Ancient Greek pottery vessels had many forms. The clay they were made of was easily formable resulting in endless options for customization for the different uses of these vases. The Greeks mainly used them for storage, transportation, and drinking, with the smaller pots being used as containers of perfumes and unguents. Today we categorize the different forms by their Greek names, from which we chose to showcase the most well-known vessels.
The amphora has a recognizable shape with its two handles, a long neck, and a pointed bottom part. These vessels were mainly used to transport drinks, mostly wine, on both land and sea.
The kantharos has a similarly well-known shape with its pair of high-swung handles, tall pedestal foot, and deep bowl. Their main usage was most probably wine drinking during rituals.
Kraters are quite large vessels that due to their size were only used to hold a wine-water mixture in a central position of the room where guests could easily access it during gatherings.
Another recognizable form of Greek pottery is the lekythos which was mainly used to store oils, mainly olive oil. It is a vessel with only one handle, a narrow shape, and a long neck. These vases are usually associated with funerary rituals because their main use was to anoint the dead bodies.
Greek vases inherited a lot from their Mycenaean predecessors both in terms of form and painting techniques.
Based on the art found on these vessels, there were numerous stylistic periods in Greek pottery making that started with the geometric style that covered the surface of the vessels with geometric patterns like circles and triangles. What followed was the gradual appearance of animal and human illustrations that were painted in profile with the main theme being scenes from mythology. The themes and subjects were greatly expanded with the influence of other cultures encountered during Greek trading activities such as the sphinx, griffin, and lion. The well-known black-figure paintings appeared around the time of 600 BCE when Athenian painters adopted the technique, that was mainly used for human illustrations. Vases made with this technique were colored with red with the illustrations being black giving the style its signature dramatic look. They used liquid clay to achieve the desired colors. With this new type of painted vessels, the Athenians became the main pottery makers in ancient Greece who further proved their excellence in this craft with red-figure paintings that they started to use around 500 BCE. It was the opposite of the previously established black-figure technique and allowed for a more detailed characterization of the human figures and the possibility to depict the subjects in a more complex way. Thus the themes of such vases were also expanded upon with many depicting everyday life events and even more mythological stories and figures.
The quality in which these marvelous art pieces were preserved made it possible to reproduce them with all the phenomenal details of the originals, using the same techniques and materials.
The Ancient Home's Greek pottery reproductions have this quality as well since all of the vessels are hand-made with the greatest care. The attention to detail put into every art piece is our utmost priority to faithfully preserve the fantastic details of the historical vessels.
Greek potteries are some of the most well documented historical items due to the abundance of material found in archaeological sites. They are the shining example of the excellence of ancient craftsmanship. Visit the link below and explore our fabulous high quality reproductions of some of the most famous historical vessels!