Local variants in Greek pottery

In the 7th and 6th centuries BC, Greek pottery was characterised by independent but closely connected centres that existed side by side. This is nicely illustrated by the shapes of the vases. The column krater, which was invented in Corinth, also appeared in Athens (1): the handles of this kind of mixing-bowl resemble columns. In Sparta, however, another version evolved, which had curved handles. These Laconian kraters were exported in large numbers to Italy, where they also began to be produced (2). Thus, the network of exchange and cultural adaptation manifest in the essentially identical vase forms created in unique variants in different regions, extended beyond the Greek centres. Different kinds of perfume bottles – some with a spherical body (3–4), others modelled as animals (5–7) – also appeared in several regions. Chalices called lydions were named after their hypothetical inventors, the Lydians in Asia Minor, but vessels of the same kind were also produced in Greek workshops (8) and in Etruria (9).

Similar connections are noticeable in the painting of the vases. Although Geometric ornamentation survived (10), the characteristic decoration of the period was the animal frieze. The details of the animal figures were often marked with incised lines. This typically Corinthian technique (4, 11–12) was also used in Athenian pottery (1), and was imitated even in modern times (13).