Ceramic Earthenware and the Evolution of Greek Pottery

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Ceramic Earthenware and the Evolution of Greek Pottery The invasion and destruction of the Helladic Palaces in 1300 B.C.E. marked the beginning of the Archaic period, also known as the Dark Ages of Greece. The country lapsed into total illiteracy for five hundred years. Representation of the human form remained absent from art for about four hundred years (Vipond). Pottery and bronze were the only art forms to be passed on from Helladic period through the Dark Ages (Fleming and Honour, 117). Bronze was used for producing weapons while pottery was made for utilitarian purposes with minimal to no decoration. The renderings of the human form evolves from being figurative into anatomically correct representations on many forms of Greek pottery which served domestic and ritual purpose in which the shape reflect their function. Around the 7th century B.C., human figures began to appear on the pottery Many of the finest Geometric vases were found in the Dipylon cemetery located near the city gates of Athens (Charleston, 29). A fine example of ceramic craftsmanship is (Fig 1). The Mourning of the Dead, a vase that sits over five feet in height. The vase is a funerary krater made by an Athenian artist whose name is unknown but is often referred to as the ‘Dipylon Master’. The artist is known for reintroducing the human and animal figure as decoration to fill the empty bands between the zones of geometric decoration. Illustrations of grazing deer are featured on a frieze on the upper neck of the vase, another of seated deer at the base of the neck and panels with human figures encircle the belly between the handles. On the front the figures mourn, a corpse is laid out on a central bier: on the other side similar figures are shown in the same traditional attitude of lamentation with their hands on their heads (Fleming and Honour, 117). The practice of burying the dead

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