A selection of ceramics through the ages (5 second delay) Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology The Collections:
PotWeb: Ceramics online
@ the Ashmolean Museum
Early Europe & Near East
Classical to Medieval
Europe from 1500
Oriental & Islamic
The ABC of pottery in archaeology
How was it used, and by whom?
Among the products of the ceramic industry are a variety of vessels, broadly divided into coarsewares and finewares. Coarsewares are made from ill-sorted clays, while finewares are made from fine-textured, clean clay. Coarseware vessels were used in the home for cooking and storage while finewares were reserved for serving at table or for display; ceramic vessels were also used in the workshop and the pharmacy as containers and in the laboratory for scientific experiments; everyone had a use for ceramic vessels. A spouted pitcher
A spouted pitcher with thumbed base used as a decanter at table
A tinglaze ring vase
A tinglaze ring vase, with an iconographical sacred monogram, `IHS', the abbreviation in Greek of the name of Jesus
The varying size, shape and form of pottery vessels, as well as their decorative styles, reflect the tastes of everyman and his family. For later periods they can sometimes be matched by art historians with records provided by contemporary illustrations. Visual quality gradually became more important than function alone. The symbolic properties of vessels are less easily interpreted, but are a vital component when studying past lifestyles.
How was it made? The ABC of ... What happened to the pottery
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last updated: jcm/27-jun-2000