A profusion of ceramics

13 January 2009
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Cratère en cloche à figures rouges, Amphore à figures noires, Canthare ou Cotyle, Skyphos, Kyathos à figures noires, Bouteille à décor géométrique © Photo RMN - Martine Beck-Coppola


The potter’s wheel, invented in the 4th millennium BC, became widespread throughout Antiquity. The walls of vases become more regular, finer and smoother. Ceramics are more elegant. Middle Eastern potters, in particular Greeks and Etruscans, developed numerous forms: the krater, amphora, cup, aryballos, pyxis, oenochoe, etc. Their walls are richly decorated. The Egyptians produced faience with translucent turquoise blue glaze. The Chinese were already the great masters of the art of ceramics. They modelled, sculpted it and transformed it into an army of soldiers guarding the Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi in his tumulus, his final resting place. Under the Han Dynasty, small statuettes called Mingqi were placed in tombs. The first ceramics made from kaolin (clay used for porcelain) appeared. They were enamelled in blue or green.

Cheval et cavalier (dynastie Han orientaux) Musée Guimet © Photo RMN - Robert Asselberghs


Hippopotame trouvé à Aboùl Naga 11e dynastie (vers 2016-1963) © Photo RMN - Hervé Lewandowski

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