use of pottery began as early as in 7000 B.C. The term 'pottery'
refers to the activity or skill of making clay objects by hand,
as well as the clay objects that are made as a result of this activity.
Some examples of pottery include pottery vases, dishes and vessels
used in cooking and for storing food.
During the ancient times, pottery was made using the potter's wheel,
a machine with a horizontal spinning disc on which clay is shaped
into various clay objects, though it's origins are still unknown.
It was used in Egypt, Persia, and Babylonia in Mesopotamia, and
excavations in Egyptian tombs have shown that pottery was made using
very advanced methods as early as 3000 BC. The pottery made during
this time in ancient Egypt were both for use and of decorative purposes,
of which some examples included bottles, jars, and jugs used for
carrying and storing water. The Babylonians on the other hand, made
clay bricks and tiles with glossy layers of glaze, often decorated
in several colours. The Persians further extended this art and made
vases and beautifully designed tiles used to decorate the palaces.
ancient Greeks and Romans too displayed their unique skills at pottery
making. The early Greeks were able to make clay objects such as
vases, urns and vessels using an interesting mix of contrasting
colours. For instance, a red-on-black ware was decorated first by
outlining the decoration on the red clay body. Then the background
was filled in with a thin glaze of black, leaving the figures in
red. They also made little terracotta figures, which were used as
ornaments or as toys for children. Pictures of their gods and heroes
were sometimes portrayed on these clay objects such as vases. For
the ancient Romans, some examples of their pottery included a red
earthenware known as Samian ware and a black pottery known as Etruscan
We have heard of China, one of the largest countries in the world
with a population of over 1 billion, but do you know that the word
'china' also refers to a type of pottery, Chinese porcelain to be
more specific, of which its origins can be traced to the time of
the Shang dynasty (1766-1122 BC)? This was one considered to be
one of the finest pottery to be ever made during the time of the
ancient civilisations. Shang potters used white clay instead of
the normal coarse gray clay to make their pottery. This was done
with the help of the potter's wheel. After a pottery was made, it
was covered with a glossy layer of glaze. The art of making fine
Chinese porcelain was improved upon by later dynasties in China
and became so popular that merchants from other countries sailed
to China to trade for it's "china".
there is a decline in the importance of pottery for useful purposes.
We seldom see people today using pottery jugs or containers to carry
food or water. Instead, containers made of metal or plastic are
used, due to the fact that they are more durable as compared to
pottery, which are fragile and break easily. However, people are
still making pottery for ornamental purposes, as the intricate designs
of the pottery and the fine skills displayed by the potter in it's
making serve to be eye-catching a subject of admiration. Chinese
porcelain is still as popular as in the past, and a porcelain vase
dating back to the Ming dynasty for example, is highly sought after
by pottery lovers who would pay millions just to obtain a piece
of the fine art that is regarded as one of the greatest cultural
achievements during the history of China.
art includes 'Dionysus and the Maenads' by the Amasis Painter, about
The Chinese porcelain flask of the Ming Dynasty (14th century) is
decorated with a dragon and wave scrolls in underglaze blue. It
measures 36.8 centimeters in height
Dipylon amphora from the geometric period, now in the National Museum
of Athens, shows one of the two principal shapes for Greek vessel
dances were depicted on a Greek vase painting from the 5th century