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Case 2: The Greek world 900–500 BC

Inspiration and influence: Greek pottery 700-500 BC


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Oil flask (alabastron): winged goddess

The winged goddess who holds two swans by the neck is called Mistress of the Animals (Potnia Theron). She is derived from a Near Eastern goddess type, but in Greece she is associated with the goddess Artemis.

The craftsman who painted this vase is known today as the 'Typhon Painter'.

Production place: Corinth
Date: around  630–620 BC
Fired Clay, black-figure technique

Object Number: GR.1.1936

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Importing Metal Monsters: Griffin-head cauldron attachment

Griffins, monsters with lion bodies and eagle heads, were popular in Near Eastern decoration. This griffin head once decorated the rim of a huge bronze cauldron. It was probably an expensive offering dedicated in a Greek sanctuary, but it imitates earlier cauldrons from north Syria. The metal-working technique was also borrowed from the Near East. The head was cast in a mould but, unlike earlier Greek figurines of solid bronze, this is hollow (the clay core is still inside).

Production place: Samos
Date: around  640 BC
Bronze (copper alloy)

Object Number: GR.2.1975

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Wine Jug (oinochoe): Foreign Inspiration

This wine jug (oinochoe) shows how Corinthians used inspiration from eastern metal-work to enhance their own pottery decoration. The dark figures feature incision and added colour, creating a scene that is typically Corinthian. The shoulder frieze mixes mythical creatures with real animals. The main scene shows either the moment of welcome or the departure of a warrior.

The craftsman who painted this vase is known today as the 'Dodwell Painter'.

Production place: Corinth
Date: around  590–570 BC
Fired Clay, black-figure technique

Object Number: GR.59.1896

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Copying Corinth - a cup (kotyle)

This cup was made in Athens but adopts a Corinthian shape and subject. The bearded men dancing drunkenly are called ‘padded dancers’ because of their costume – a short red tunic with exaggerated belly and bottom (see GR.45.1896 for the Corinthian version which first appears about 610 BC). Athenian potters imitated Corinthian pottery in an attempt to dominate the market in exported pottery.

Production place: Athens
Date: around  585–550 BC
Find spot: Tamassos, Cyprus
Fired Clay, black-figure technique
Given by Bulwer, Henry, Sir

Object Number: GR.126.1892

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Click on the images below to view their label information

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