Different Vessels of Ancient Greek Pottery

Here are some of the main Ancient Greek Pottery Vessels that were most prominent.

Oinochoe:  A wine pitcher that has only one handle

Chytrai: These were very large and designed for cooking purposes.  Chytrai were made of rough clay as they didn’t need to look pretty and polished when they were only used in the kitchen behind the scenes.

Hydria:  A hydria is used as a water jar.  It has three handles on it, used for carrying and pouring out water.

Amphora:  Mainly used for the storage of grains or sometimes wine, the amphora is a large vessel with a lid and two handles.

Kylix: This is a drinking cup that has a few different designs.

Kraters:  There are multiple styles of Kraters, including the calyx, column, bell, and volute styles.  Kraters are used for mixing wine and water.

Lekythos: A narrow-necked flask that is used for both pouring oils and fragrances.

Different pottery shapes
Visual of the different types of vessels

Some of the most iconic Greek Pottery pieces

The First Signed Ancient Greek Vessels:

The artist Sophilos’ Dinos (cauldron):

This Dinos depicts the scene of Peleus and Thetis’ wedding, present with multiple different orientalizing motifs, dating this piece back to the Orientalizing Period and is from about 580 BC. Overall, this piece is incredibly unique as it is one of the first to be signed by its artist, “Sophilos painted me” was painted by Sopilos between the columns at Peleus’ house. This was unseen and unheard of before this.

Sophilos’ Dinos Cauldron ancient greek vessel
Sophilos’ Dinos at the British Museum

The François Vase:

This large Attic style krater has classic black-figure motifs and is dated back to 570 BC. Erigotimos was the potter while Kleitias was the painter. Both of the had signed the vessel, showing us many different clues into Ancient Greek life. For example, the fact that there is both a potter and a painter, we can deduce that there was a specialization of work even back then. The krater was found in Etruria which shows that trade of various vessels were still carried out in Athens at this time.

The François vase ancient greek vessel
The François Vase at the Archaeological Museum in Florence

Other Unique Works:

Exekias’ works:

Yet another Archaic period potter, Exekias used an increase in the of black on his black-figure pottery, allowing for only the middle section to be the classic orange color. In general, his pottery was quite unique not only because of this but with how he portrayed quite serious scenes with high emotions. For example, with the use of emotions in his depiction of the suicide of Ajax. Normally, it would be quite the somber event, but Exakias added emotion to it.

Ancient Greek pottery vessel by Exekias
The Suicide of Ajax by Exekias

Andokides Painter:

The Andokides painter painted six different “bilingual” vases. Bilingual vases are when both red-figure and black-figure paintings are used on the same vessel, which was very unique and needed to be done by a highly skilled artisan. The one pictured below depicts Hoplites with Athena and Hermes.

bilingual ancient greek pottery vessel
Bilingual Andokides Painter vase displayed at the Louvre

These are a few of the different Ancient Greek Pottery shapes and some of the most iconic pieces on display today!

Did you enjoy this blog post on different Ancient Greek pottery vessels? Then, check out others like it here. You can join us on Treasure Hunts at Museums to learn even more about these fascinating works of art. Sign up for hunts at the British Museum, the Louvre, the Orsay, and the Natural History Museum!

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