Ancient Ceramics

Ancient artifacts are often discoverable because they were made and used for specific tasks that enabled them to survive. By this I mean that maybe they were religious items that were protected, or particular household items that didn’t receive much use. If you think about it, now in the modern day, hand crafted ceramic items are actually a semi ‘precious’ item – at least they hold some value and are often treasured. But thousands of years back ceramic ware was just the normal kind of dish ware and typically didn’t carry any special meaning.

These pieces were discoverable because of their importance at the time they were made and used. Each one at its core is a simple and common vessel but what set them apart was the reason they were made, or the person they were made for. They carry weight each in their own way.


400 BC Squat Lekythos: -This type of Greek vessel is known as a lekythos and was used to hold wine or oil, particularly olive oil which was a highly traded item at the time. – -The surface decoration shows a mythological scene with Aphrodite and Eros who were both gods of love. – -Most likely, the vessel was used in some higher capacity either ritualistic or royal and this is why is has survived so long.


Pointed Amphora –  500 – 490 BC: -The amphora was used to hold liquids particularly wine in the Mediterranean and middle eastern areas. – -The pot is believed to have been painted by one of the greatest painters of ancient Greece known as Kleophrades Painter (the real individual is unknown). The scene shows Dionisius with a vine, surrounded by reveling satyrs. – -Because this amphora was decorated by the best artist of the time it is highly likely that it belonged to an important and wealthy individual and served as a vessel to show off wealth and power, as well as being used for important social events.


Early 10th century eastern Persian dish -Earthenware clay with highly decorated surface. – -It is likely that this platter style plate was used as serving / dinnerware made for a well-off family. – -The construction and decoration do not suggest any religious type usage or meaning. it is most likely that it was commissioned to depict a personal story or meaning.

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