Glossary of Ceramics

All vessels depicted in this glossary were unearthed at Zominthos.

Amphora (plural, amphorae or amphoras)

An amphora is a two-handled vase with a long neck that is narrower than its body. The name derives from the ancient Greek word amphoreus (αμφορευς), an abbreviation of amphiphoreus (αμφιφορευς), a compound word combining amphi- (“on both sides,” “twain”) plus phoreus (“carrier”), from pherein (“to carry”), referring to the vessel’s two carrying handles on opposite sides. A smaller-size amphora is called an amphoriskos.

Amphora

Amphora

Amphorisk

Amphoriskos

Beaked Jug

Vessel with a pouring lip shaped like a duck’s beak

Beaked jug

Beaked jug

Chytra

Cooking pot with three legs

Chytra

Chytra

Closed Vessel

Vessel with a closed mouth, appropriate for pouring or transferring liquids

Closed vessel

Closed vessel

Cup

The cup was a very common, everyday vessel during the Minoan period. There were many variations on its shape: conical, handle-less, hemispherical, bell-shaped, straight-sided, spouted, and so on.

Bell-shaped cup

Bell-shaped cup

Handle-less conical cups

Handle-less conical cups

Miniature cup

Miniature cup

Rounded cup

Rounded cup

Straight-sided cup

Straight-sided cup

Kalathos

A wide-based, straight-sided type of basket

Kalathos

Kalathos

Karpodochos (Fruit Stand)

An open-mouthed vessel of a large diameter, on a high stand

Karpodochos

Karpodochos

Kymbe

A shallow, open, oblong vessel that looks like a small bathtub

Kymbe

Kymbe

Lamp

A vessel used just like a traditional lamp, inside of which was placed a special fuel, such as olive oil or beeswax

Lamp

Lamp

Lekane (plural, lekanes)

A bowl most likely used in food preparation

Lekane

Lekane

Milk Jug

Small, cylindrical containerwith a narrow mouth, a handle, and a lip; used for holding and pouring liquids

Milk jug

Milk jug

Open Vessel

Vessels with an open mouth were probably not used for storage, but for household activities such as blending, eating, etc.

Open vessel

Open vessel

Pithos (plural, pithoi)

The ancient Greek word (πιθος) for a large storage jar of a characteristic shape

Pithos

Pithos

Rhyton (plural, rhyta)

The rhyton (derived from the ancient Greek word, ρυτον) is a container from which fluids were intended to be drunk or poured as a libation in a religious ceremony. Each rhyton has a hole at the bottom, through which liquids slowly flowed.

Rhyton base

Rhyton base

Rhyton with floral motif

Rhyton with floral motif

Rhyton in the shape of a pig

Rhyton in the shape of a pig

Spouted Vessel

A closed- or open-mouthed vessel with a mouth formed appropriately for the flow of liquid; one variation is the bridge-spouted vessel, a type of pitcher with a connecting element between the spout and fill opening (the spout is a separate opening from the usually smaller, central fill opening)

Spouted vessel

Spouted vessel

Bridge-spouted jug

Bridge-spouted jug

Stirrup Jar

A vase characteristic of Mycenaean pottery that has a false, closed mouth, a side spout, and two handles on its shoulders; there are different sizes and variations

Stirrup jar

Stirrup jar