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In the islands, the handmade pottery tradition continued with rectilinear designs in lilac or black on a white surface.

Typically a uniform grey colour, Minyan ware was the first type of Greek pottery made on a potter's wheel, and was therefore quicker and cheaper to produce.

These early forms were all handmade and undecorated although Greek potters gradually introduced various decorative effects using black and red pigments to create what is sometimes called Rainbow ware. Then human figures were included in the ornamentation, with images of chariot processions, battles, funerals and other scenes.

There was no general style or convergence between local schools. During the Late Geometric period (770-725 BCE), some historical references appear, with representations of events from Greek mythology.

However, archaeologists exposed the oldest layers, now showing a species of recently identified fossil dwarf deer named , which became extinct more than 11,000 years ago.

The species has unusually long antlers with short lateral tines, and specimens found not far north of Asphendou in caves on the north coast of Crete date to between 21,500 and 11,000 years ago.

But despite the aesthetic achievements of many outstanding Greek ceramicists, the plastic art of pottery in Classical Antiquity was never as widely respected as fine art. Geometric ceramic art has been likened to the formulaic epic poetry of Homer (Iliad), which was composed during the same era.

Monumental painting was most esteemed, followed by architecture, Greek sculpture and craftwork involving gold, ivory and precious stones. To begin with, during the Early Geometric era (c.900-850 BCE), designs continued to be purely abstract and formed part of what was known as the "Black Dipylon" style: a method of production characterized by the use of black varnish.

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• Introduction • Stone Age Greek Pottery • Early Bronze Age • Middle Bronze Age • Late Bronze Age • Greek Pottery During the Dark Ages • Geometric Style • Oriental Style • Early Black-Figure • Black-Figure Style • Red-Figure Style • Greek Pottery During the Classical Period • Greek Pottery During the Hellenistic Period • Greek Pottery Production • Types of Greek Pottery Containers In the absence of any significant body of orginal sculpture or painting from ancient Greece, ceramic earthenware is a key indicator of Greek civilization and the primary source of information about the evolution of Greek art. Going far beyond the circular designs of the earlier protogeometric period, geometric pottery includes some of the finest surviving works of Greek visual art.

Cretan pottery also had geometric designs: first, in dark paint over a light clay background; then in white over dark paint.

Meanwhile, in the Cyclades (southern Greek islands) new forms of pottery included Sesklo ware, which incorporated geometric decoration with incised spirals and maritime motifs.

Although the Myceneans tried to copy the free-flowing imagery of the Minoans, their efforts were more stilted and less life-like than the originals, although they were mass-produced in large quantities and exported to many neighbouring countries.

It had a huge impact on the work of other Greek potters both on the mainland and the islands, until 1425 BCE when Crete was conquered by the Myceneans.

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