Ancient Greek Vases: The ancient Greeks used the large deposits of clay to make pottery. By the year 1000 BC Athens had become one of the leading cities in making pottery. The Greeks made two basic kinds of pottery. One was the red-figured and the other was black-figured.

They simply used red and black clay to form red and black figured Greek style Ancient Greek Vases. The songs of many ancient poets are lost, while the illustrations of their songs remain on pottery vases.

Ancient Decorative Greek Vases

Ancient Greek Vases

The style of decorated Ancient Greece Vases has been variously called Doric, Corinthian, Carthaginian, and Egyptian. This variation of the name indicates the hitherto puzzling character of the decoration, which consisted in rows of Greek animals panthers, lions, goats, deer, and birds–usually arranged in friezes around the vase, while flowers are strewed over the field.

The most frequent form of the vase was the amphora, also an ancient Egyptian and Phenician form. It was of long cylindrical or ovoid body, made in all sizes, from the small drug vase two or three inches high to the large receiver of oil, grain, fruit, wine, or water.


Originally the base was pointed, to be pressed into the sand or soil, and thus hold the vase upright; but later, and always in ornamental vases, the pointed base was surrounded with a small foot.

The invariable two handles gave the name to the vase. This was a favorite vase for decoration, and, thus finished, was a noble household ornament and adornment on festal occasions.


Greek Vase Painting

Painting of the Ancient Greeks has survived primarily in the form of Vase Painting. Vase painters articulated individual forms by incising the slip or by adding white and purple enhancements (mixtures of pigment and clay). The paintings were done in red and black with some use of accent colors.

The vases depicted battles, Grecce heroes, gods, and everyday life. During the first, oxidizing stage, the air was allowed into the kiln, turning the whole vase the color of the clay. In the subsequent stage, green wood was introduced into the chamber and the oxygen supply was reduced, causing the object to turn black in the smoky environment.


Greek Pottery Shapes

In the third stage, the air was reintroduced into the kiln; the reserved portions turned back to orange while the glossed areas remained black. Painted vases were often made in specific shapes for specific daily uses storing and Greek transporting wine and foodstuffs, drawing water, drinking wine or water, and so on for special, often ritual occasions, such as pouring libations or carrying water for the bridal bath.