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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

Prehistoric Art in Greece

Pottery

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It remains to glance at the most important early varieties of Greek pottery. We need not stop here to study the rude, unpainted, mostly hand-made vases from the earliest strata at Troy and Tiryns, nor the more developed, yet still primitive, ware of the island of Thera. But the Mycenaean pottery is of too great importance to be passed over. This was the characteristic ware of the Mycenaean civilization. The probability is that it was manufactured at several different places, of which Mycenae may have been one and perhaps the most important. It was an article of export and thus found its way even into Egypt, where specimens have been discovered in tombs of the Eighteenth Dynasty and later. The variations in form and ornamentation are considerable, as is natural with an article whose production was carried on at different centers and during a period of centuries. (...) The Mycenaean vases are mostly wheel-made. The decoration, in the great majority of examples, is applied in a lustrous color, generally red, shading to brown or black. The favorite elements of design are bands and spirals and a variety of animal and vegetable forms, chiefly marine. Quadrupeds and men belong to the latest period of the style, the vase-painters of the early and central Mycenaean periods having abstained, for some reason or other, from those subjects which formed the stock in trade of the gem-engravers.


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