Facts About Ancient Greek Pottery

Updated July 19, 2017

Pottery provides the most significant source of information on the evolution of ancient Greek art as large amounts of sculpture and paintings have not survived. The pottery tradition in ancient Greece lasted from 7000 B.C. to 30 B.C.

Stylistic Evolution

Ancient Greek pottery began with very little design but evolved through geometric patterns, to depictions of mythology and daily life, to ornamental designs painted in many colours. Black-figure pottery is characterised by black foregrounds and red backgrounds, and red-figure pottery is the opposite.

Production Methods

An abundance of clay was available in ancient Greece, with colours ranging from red to white depending on the region. Red-figure and black-figure pottery were made using a process that blackened parts of the clay through lack of oxygen. After the Minoan period, almost all pottery was made on a wheel.

Uses in Daily Life

Pottery vases, bowls and jugs were created for a wide variety of uses, which also evolved over time. Wine, oil, water, perfumes and cosmetics were stored in pottery vessels. Some were also used for ceremonial, wedding and funerary purposes.

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About the Author

Stephen Lloyd has been a freelance writer since 2008. He writes for Made Man, Screen Junkies and various other websites, specializing in music, film, literature, history, food, camping and politics. Lloyd holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Texas State University-San Marcos with a minor in creative writing.