Minyan ware is a broad archaeological term describing varieties of a particular style of Aegean pottery associated with the Middle Helladic period. In the history of Aegean prehistoric archaeology, Heinrich Schliemann was the first person to coin the term Minyan after he discovered a variety of dark-burnished pottery at Orchomenos. Some of his contemporaries referred to the pottery as Orchomenos Ware, the term Minyan Ware ultimately prevailed since it romantically recalled the glorious Minyans of Greek mythology. At first, Alan Wace and Carl Blegen did not yet associate Minyan Ware with the advent of the Greeks, both archaeologists regarded the sudden appearance of Minyan Ware as one of two interruptions in the unbroken evolution of Greek pottery from the Neolithic up until the Mycenean era. Ultimately, they concluded that Minyan Ware indicates the introduction of a new cultural strain, prior to 1960, Minyan Ware was often associated with northern invaders having destroyed Early Helladic culture and introducing Middle Helladic culture into the Greek peninsula.
Caskey found that the Black or Argive variety of Minyan Ware was a version of the Early Helladic III Dark slipped and burnished pottery class. Therefore, Minyan Ware was present in Greece since between 2200 and 2150 BC, there is nothing particularly northern regarding the ceramic progenitors of Minyan Ware. The exception, entails the spread of Minyan Ware from central Greece to northeastern Peloponnese, there is uncertainty as to how Minyan Ware arrived in Greece or how it was indigenously developed. Minyan Ware is a form of monochrome burnished pottery produced from fine or moderately fine clay. Varieties of Minyan Ware entail Yellow, Gray, open forms such as goblets and kantharoi are the most common shapes in all types of Minyan Ware. Goblets and kantharoi are technically evolved versions of the Bass bowl, Gray Minyan Ware, has angular forms that may reflect copies of metallic prototypes. However, such a theory is difficult to substantiate given the fact that objects from the Middle Helladic period are rare.
Yet, the forms of this particular pottery style may in fact be derived from the common use of the fast potters wheel. Ring stems are an important characteristic of Middle Helladic II and Middle Helladic III Gray Minyan Ware in central Greece, of course, this characteristic is present on Middle Helladic III Yellow Minyan Ware goblets from Corinth and the Argolid. During the final phase of the Middle Helladic period, shallowly incised rings more or less replaced goblet feet, Minyan Ware from the Middle Helladic I period is decorated in the form of grooves on the upper shoulder of kantharoi and bowls. During the Middle Helladic II period, stamped concentric circles and festoons became a characteristic of decoration especially on Black Minyan Ware. Gray Minyan Ware is mostly found in central Greece and it is common in the Peloponnese during the Middle Helladic I and Middle Helladic II periods. Black Minyan Ware is common in northern Peloponnese and is decorated with stamped and incised ornaments
West Slope Ware
The modern term West Slope pottery describes a type of Greek fine pottery from the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods. West Slope pottery was widespread in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The name was coined in 1901 by Carl Watzinger, based on finds from the slope of the Acropolis at Athens. West Slope pottery is a subtype of Black-glazed Ware and it was additionally decorated with white and pink clay slip, vertical ribbing and imprinted roulette decoration. The type developed during the 4th century BC out of a style with applied yellowish-orange plastic ornaments that imitated gilding. West Slope pottery is especially well-known from Athens, but several other centres have been identified. Especially Pergamon is noteworthy in this regard, the most common vessels shapes included pyxis, hydria, pelike, krateriskos, chalice cup and lebes. Similar styles developed in the West Mediterranean, for example, the polychrome Gnathia style is closely related. West Slope pottery underwent several stages of development until it went out of production in the half of the 2nd century BC
White ground technique
White-ground technique is a style of white ancient Greek pottery and the painting in which figures appear on a white background. It developed in the region of Attica, dated to about 500 BC, nevertheless, a wide range of subjects are depicted. In white-ground pottery, the vase is covered with a light or white slip of kaolinite, a similar slip had been used as carrier for vase paintings in the Geometric and Archaic periods. White-ground vases were produced, for example, in Ionia, but only in Athens did it develop into a veritable separate style beside black-figure and red-figure vase painting. For that reason, the term white-ground pottery or white-ground vase painting is used in reference to the Attic material only. The light slip was probably meant to make the vases appear more valuable, however, in no case was a vessels entire surface covered in white slip. It has been conjectured that this form of painting emerged in order to emulate the more prestigious medium of wall painting, the group of five Huge Lekythoi are covered entirely in white slip, which suggests an imitation of marble lekythoi for funerary purposes.
White-ground vase painting often occurred in association with red-figure vase painting, especially typical of this are kylikes with a white-ground interior and a red-figure exterior image. White-ground painting is less durable than black- or red-figure, which is why such vases were used as votives. The development of vase painting took place parallel to that of the black-. In the course of development, five sub-styles can be noted. The earliest surviving example of the technique is a fragmentary kantharos signed by the potter-painter Nearchos ca.570 BC and it was found on the Athenian Acropolis. The technique was used to create strobing bands of colour that emphasize the shape of the vase. and is associated with the workshops of Andokides, after a short interval, this technique was adopted by other workshops, including that of Psiax. The manner of painting is the same as in conventional black-figure, the ground is rarely pure white, but usually slightly yellowish or light beige. A second form is monochrome silhouette drawing, images are not created from reservation and painted internal detail, but from drawn outlines and painted internal detail.
This style is used since the end of the 6th century BC, especially on cups, initially, the outline of the figures is executed in the form of a relief line, but from about 500 BC, this is increasingly replaced by painted yellowish-brown lines. The so-called semi-outline technique is a combination of the first and the technique, used only in the first half of the 5th century BC, virtually exclusively on lekythoi. In the first quarter of the 5th century, the workshop of the potter Euphronios develops a four-colour painting style using a combination of shiny clay slip, the images are made up of outline drawings in shiny slip and coloured areas in mineral paint
Euphronios was an ancient Greek vase painter and potter, active in Athens in the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC. As part of the so-called Pioneer Group, Euphronios was one of the most important artists of the red-figure technique. His works place him at the transition from Late Archaic to Early Classical art, in contrast to other artists, such as sculptors, no Ancient Greek literature sources refer specifically to vase painters. The copious literary tradition on the arts hardly mention pottery, thus reconstruction of Euphronioss life and artistic development—like that of all Greek vase painters—can only be derived from his works. Modern scientific study of Greek pottery began near the end of the 18th century, the discovery of the first signature of Euphronios in 1838 revealed that individual painters could be identified and named, so that their works might be ascribed to them. This led to a study of painters signatures, and by the late 19th century. The archaeologist John D. Beazley used these compendia as a point for his own work.
He systematically described and catalogued thousands of Attic black-figure and red-figure vases and sherds, in three key volumes on Attic painters, Beazley achieved a taxonomy that remains mostly valid to this day. He listed all known painters who produced works of art which can always be unmistakably ascribed. Today, most painters are identified, though their names remain unknown Euphronios must have been born around 535 BC. Most Attic pottery was painted in the black-figure style. Much of the Athenian pottery production of time was exported to Etruria. Most of the extant Attic pottery has been recovered as grave goods from Etruscan tombs, at the time, vase painting received major new impulses from potters such as Nikosthenes and Andokides. The Andokides workshop began the production of red-figure pottery around 530 BC, the new red-figure technique began to replace the older black-figure style. Euphronios was to one of the most important representatives of early red-figure vase painting in Athens.
Together with a few other young painters, modern scholarship counts him as part of the Pioneer Group of red-figure painting. Euphronios appears to have started painting vases around 520 BC, probably under the tutelage of Psiax, Euphronios himself was to have a major influence on the work of his erstwhile master, as well as on that of several other older painters. Later he worked in the workshop of the potter Kachrylion, under supervision of the painter Oltos, the latter aspects particularly indicate a close link with Psiax, who painted in a similar style
Pottery of ancient Greece
The shards of pots discarded or buried in the 1st millennium BC are still the best guide available to understand the customary life and mind of the ancient Greeks. There were various specific regional varieties, such as the South Italian ancient Greek pottery, throughout these places, various types and shapes of vases were used. Some were highly decorative and meant for consumption and domestic beautification as much as serving a storage or other function. As the culture recovered Sub-Mycenaean pottery finally blended into the Protogeometric style, the rise of vase painting saw increasing decoration. Geometric art in Greek pottery was contiguous with the late Dark Age and early Archaic Greece, the pottery produced in Archaic and Classical Greece included at first black-figure pottery, yet other styles emerged such as red-figure pottery and the white ground technique. Styles such as West Slope Ware were characteristic of the subsequent Hellenistic period, interest in Greek art lagged behind the revival of classical scholarship during the Renaissance and revived in the academic circle round Nicholas Poussin in Rome in the 1630s.
Though modest collections of vases recovered from ancient tombs in Italy were made in the 15th and 16th centuries these were regarded as Etruscan. It is possible that Lorenzo de Medici bought several Attic vases directly from Greece and it was Gerhard who first outlined the chronology we now use, Orientalizing, Black Figure, Red Figure, Polychromatic. Where the 19th century was a period of discovery and the out of first principles the 20th century has been one of consolidation. Efforts to record and publish the totality of public collections of vases began with the creation of the Corpus vasorum antiquorum under Edmond Pottier and others following him have studied fragments of Greek pottery in institutional collections, and have attributed many painted pieces to individual artists. Scholars have called these fragments disjecta membra and in a number of instances have been able to identify fragments now in different collections that belong to the same vase, some vase shapes were especially associated with rituals, others with athletics and the gymnasium.
Within each category the forms are roughly the same in scale and whether open or closed, some have a purely ritual function, for example white ground lekythoi contained the oil used as funerary offerings and appear to have been made solely with that object in mind. Many examples have a second cup inside them to give the impression of being full of oil. There was a market for Greek pottery since the 8th century BC. An idea of the extent of trade can be gleaned from plotting the find maps of these vases outside of Greece. Only the existence of a second hand market could account for the number of found in Etruscan tombs. South Italian wares came to dominate the trade in the Western Mediterranean as Athens declined in political importance during the Hellenistic period. The process of making a pot and firing it is fairly simple, the first thing a potter needs is clay
Three-phase firing or iron reduction technique is a firing technique used in ancient Greek pottery production, specifically for painted vases. Already vessels from the Bronze Age feature the typical of the technique, with yellow, orange or red clay. But the firing had three phases, designed to create the intended colours, sometimes further painting in other colours was added after firing, especially in white-ground and Hellenistic vases. However, new studies instead provide material evidence that the pottery was made two or more separate firings in which the pottery is subjected to multiple firing stages. The conventional view is described in detail below, but the possibility of different firings for the phases described should be kept in mind. All colours of Greek black-red vase painting are produced by the different concentrations of iron in the clay, Iron has the special feature of forming oxides of various colours, including grey Iron oxide, red Iron oxide, and deep black magnetite. Thus, the colour of iron-rich clays can be influenced by controlling the atmosphere during firing, aiming for it to be reducing or oxidising.
This control is the essence of three-phase firing, to achieve more than one colour on a given vase, a further trick is necessary, The black magnetite Fe3O4 has to be prevented from returning to matt red hematite Fe2O3. In other words, the areas to remain black have to be denied access to oxygen, smaller clay particles and a high calcium content lower the sintering point. The production of finely varied painting slips was achieved through levigation, the addition of peptising substances can further reduce particle size. In other words, the particles are now in a state of colloid suspension. Before firing, the vessels were densely stacked in the kiln. Since Attic pottery contains no proper, vessels could touch in the kiln. However, it was of importance to achieve a good circulation of air/gas. Typical firing probably took place at a temperature of 850 to 975 degrees Celsius, with constant firing of the kiln, such temperatures were reached after about 8 to 9 hours. During this process, the vessels in the oven initially lost whatever moisture remained in them, at a temperature of 500 °C, after 6 or 7 hours, true firing of the now red-hot vessels began.
With a constant supply of oxygen and an increasing temperature. During this process, the content is transformed into deep red hematite
Bucchero is a class of ceramics produced in central Italy by the regions pre-Roman Etruscan population. This Italian word is derived from the Latin poculum, a drinking-vessel, perhaps through the Spanish búcaro, or the Portuguese púcaro. After the leather-hard unfired ware was arranged in the kiln and the fire started, in the smoke-filled atmosphere of the kiln, the oxygen-starved flames drew oxygen molecules from the iron oxide of the pottery. This process caused the fabric of the clay to change color from its natural red to black, the term Bucchero derives from the Portuguese word bucáro, meaning odorous clay, because this type of pottery was reputed to emit a special odor. In the 18th and 19th century in Europe a lot of interest was shown for a particular type Pre-Columbian pottery in a black color and these ceramics were therefore shipped in large numbers from South America to Europe, where they were traded and were imitated. At the same time, in Italy, etruscheria was in demand and major digs were organized in Tuscany.
Because of the similarities with the popular South American ceramics, the black pottery that was found in Etruscan tombs was called bucchero. This Italianate form became established in archaeological terminology and even today the designation bucchero is still common in the scientific literature. Bucchero ware would seem to have been the natural sequel to the impasto pottery associated with the earlier Villanovan culture from which the Etruscan civilization, many of the new, exotic shapes were in imitation of the metalwares imported from these cultures. The potters of Etruria were able to offer their customers a locally-produced and less-expensive ceramic equivalent to the desirable, the Orientalizing manner is most apparent in the earliest phase of bucchero production which is distinguished by the remarkable thinness of the walls of the vessels. Known as bucchero sottile, or delicate bucchero, this represents a technical achievement elevating the potters who turned them to the ranks of the very finest ceramicists.
During the Archaic period, the impact of the Greek aesthetic on Etruscan culture can be noted in the influence of Greek vase shapes on the design choices of the bucchero potters. The Nikosthenic amphora with its wide, flat handles was yet another example of Greek potters looking to Etruscan prototypes, the bucchero wares of Etruria even offered some export competition to Greek pottery. In the production of bucchero sottile, the shape of the pot held pride of place, with surface decoration playing a supporting role. When decoration was used, it was limited to enhancing the profile of a chalice. The bowl of an oinochoe might be emphasized by closely spaced vertical lines incised into the clay before firing. Further decoration could be added before the green ware was loaded into the kiln by using a wheel or a comb-like instrument to create rows of dots arranged in fan patterns. On examples a roller with recessed reliefs was used to transfer figures of deities or even narratives to the surface of the vessel, during the Orientalizing period and on into the Archaic, bucchero sottile production continued but gradually lost its unique character as Etruria became increasingly Hellenized
Greek terracotta figurines
Terracotta figurines are a mode of artistic and religious expression frequently found in ancient Greece. These figurines abound and provide a testimony to the everyday life. Modelling is the most common and simplest technique and it is used for the realization of bronzes, the prototypes are made out of raw clay. The small sizes are directly worked with the hand, for the larger models, the coroplath presses the clay pellets or wads against a wooden restraint. The mould is obtained by application of a bed of clay or plaster on the prototype, simple moulds, used by the Greeks of the continent until the 4th century BC, are simply dried. When the piece becomes complicated, with important projections, the craftsman can cut out the mould in smaller parts, the second phase consists of applying a layer of raw clay inside the mould, which can be incised beforehand in order to obtain effects of relief. The thinness of the layer varies according to the type of object to be realized, the faces of the mould are joined together, the object is unmoulded, and the craftsman can proceed to the final improvements, typically smoothing the junction.
The craftsman creates an opening, a vent hole that allows steam to escape during the firing. The vent can be used for assembly, allowing intervention inside the piece, the limbs are joined to the body either by pasting them with slip, clay mixed with water, or by mortice and tenon joint. The piece is fired in the kiln, with the temperature ranging from 600 to 800 °C. Once the figurine is fired, slip can be applied, the slip is sometimes itself fired at low temperature. In the beginning, the range of colours available was limited, yellow, black. From the Hellenistic era on, pink mauve, the pigments are natural mineral dyes, ochre for yellow and red, coal for black, malachite for green, etc. Due to their low cost, the figurines made ideal religious offerings and that is indeed their primary purpose, the decorative aspect coming only later. This explains why the ancient Greek temples host abundant quantities of votive or funerary figurines and these figurines can present identification issues. These attributes make it possible to recognize a particular god in an unquestionable way, certain types of statuettes correspond to a precise form of worship related to a specific divinity.
Sometimes, visiting gods complicate matters, these are dedicated to a god who is not of that sanctuary. In addition, the majority of the figurines simply represent a woman upright
Typology of Greek vase shapes
The pottery of ancient Greece has a long history and the form of Greek vase shapes has had a continuous evolution from Minoan pottery down to the Hellenistic era. The task of naming Greek vase shapes is by no means a straightforward one, a few surviving vases were labelled with their names in antiquity, these included a hydria depicted on the François Vase and a kylix that declares, “I am the decorated kylix of lovely Phito”. Vases in use are depicted in paintings on vases, which can help scholars interpret written descriptions. With those caveats, the names of Greek vases are well settled. The following vases are mostly Attic, from the 5th and 6th centuries, many shapes derive from metal vessels, especially in silver, which survive in far smaller numbers. Some pottery vases were intended as cheaper substitutes for these. Some terms, especially among the types of kylix or drinking cup, combine a shape, some terms are defined by function as much as shape, such as the aryballos, which potters turned into all sorts of fancy novelty shapes.
In addition various standard types might be used as external grave-markers, funerary urns containing ashes, several types of vase, especially the taller ones, could be made in plastic forms where the body was shaped sculpturally, typically to form a human head. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A krater or crater was a large vase in Ancient Greece, particularly used for watering down wine. At a Greek symposium, kraters were placed in the center of the room and they were quite large, so they were not easily portable when filled. Thus, the mixture would be withdrawn from the krater with other vessels. In fact, Homers Odyssey describes a steward drawing wine from a krater at a banquet and running to, the modern Greek word now used for undiluted wine, originates from the krasis of wine and water in kraters. Kraters were glazed on the interior to make the surface of the clay more impervious for holding water, at the beginning of each symposium a symposiarch, or lord of the common drink, was elected by the participants. He would control of the wine servants, and thus of the degree of wine dilution and how it changed during the party. The krater and how it was filled and emptied was thus the centerpiece of the symposiarchs authority, an astute symposiarch should be able to diagnose the degree of inebriation of his fellow symposiasts and make sure that the symposium progressed smoothly and without drunken excess.
Drinking ákratos wine was considered a faux pas in ancient Greece, enough to characterize the drinker as a drunkard and someone who lacked restraint. By using dehydrated grapes, and could withstand dilution with water better, such wines would have withstood time and the vagaries of transportation much better. Nevertheless, the ancient writers offer scant details of ancient vinification methods and this form originated in Corinth in the seventh century BCE but was taken over by the Athenians where it is typically black-figure. They ranged in size from 35 centimetres to 56 centimetres in height and were thrown in three pieces, the body/ shoulder area was one, the base another, and the neck/ lip/ rim a third. These are among the largest of the kraters, supposedly developed by the potter Exekias in black figure though in fact almost always seen in red, the lower body is shaped like the calyx of a flower, and the foot is stepped. The psykter-shaped vase fits inside it so well stylistically that it has suggested that the two might have often been made as a set.
It is always made with two robust upturned handles positioned on opposite sides of the body or cul. This type of krater, defined by volute-shaped handles, was invented in Laconia in the early 6th century BC and its production was carried on by Greeks in Apulia until the end of the 4th century BC. This strip would have been continued downward until the bottom of the handle where the potter would have cut a U-shaped arch in the clay before attaching the handle to the body of the vase and this form looks like an inverted bell. According to most scholars ceramic kraters imitated shapes designed initially for metal vessels, these were common in antiquity, among the largest and most famous metal kraters in antiquity were one in the possession of the Samian tyrant Polycrates, and another one dedicated by Croesus to the Delphic oracle. There are a few extant Archaic bronze kraters, almost exclusively of the volute-type and their main production centres were Sparta and Corinth, in Peloponnesus
The British Museum is dedicated to human history and culture, and is located in the Bloomsbury area of London. The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician, the museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759, in Montagu House, on the site of the current building. Although today principally a museum of art objects and antiquities. Its foundations lie in the will of the Irish-born British physician, on 7 June 1753, King George II gave his formal assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. They were joined in 1757 by the Old Royal Library, now the Royal manuscripts, together these four foundation collections included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving copy of Beowulf. The British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king, freely open to the public, sloanes collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests.
The addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary, the body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The Trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost. With the acquisition of Montagu House the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts. A list of donations to the Museum, dated 31 January 1784, in the early 19th century the foundations for the extensive collection of sculpture began to be laid and Greek and Egyptian artefacts dominated the antiquities displays. Gifts and purchases from Henry Salt, British consul general in Egypt, beginning with the Colossal bust of Ramesses II in 1818, many Greek sculptures followed, notably the first purpose-built exhibition space, the Charles Towneley collection, much of it Roman Sculpture, in 1805.
In 1816 these masterpieces of art, were acquired by The British Museum by Act of Parliament. The collections were supplemented by the Bassae frieze from Phigaleia, Greece in 1815, the Ancient Near Eastern collection had its beginnings in 1825 with the purchase of Assyrian and Babylonian antiquities from the widow of Claudius James Rich. The neoclassical architect, Sir Robert Smirke, was asked to draw up plans for an extension to the Museum. For the reception of the Royal Library, and a Picture Gallery over it, and put forward plans for todays quadrangular building, much of which can be seen today. The dilapidated Old Montagu House was demolished and work on the Kings Library Gallery began in 1823, the extension, the East Wing, was completed by 1831. The Museum became a site as Sir Robert Smirkes grand neo-classical building gradually arose