Chia-Lin Hsu, Tunghai University


Red-figure pottery (c.530-c.250 BCE) is one of the most representative objects of ancient Greek civilization. Inscriptions on the pottery preserve ancient Greek words, while paintings thereon reflect the images people had of gods and goddesses. The paintings also record several aspects of society and the life at that time. The technique used for the pottery has attracted scholars’ attention since the eighteenth century, and better accounts are still sought. This paper is concerned with the decorative relief dots on ancient Greek red-figure pottery. The relief dots are found to consist entirely of black gloss which could have been produced with ease during firing. This recalls the Greeks’ interest in convenient but precise techniques. Such characteristics helped this pottery technique to be learned and spread without much difficulty. Since the Greeks tended to be conservative toward customs and traditions, they passed this technique down from generation to generation. By way of trade and colonization it was brought to a wide area where the Greek culture reached. The technique was, and became, one symbol of Greek civilization.

Keywords: Ancient Greece, red-figure pottery, relief dots, black gloss, firing

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