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A vase (/ˈvɑːz/, /ˈvs/, or /ˈvz/) is an open container. It can be made from a number of materials, such as ceramics , glass, non-rusting metals, such as aluminum, brass, bronze or stainless steel. Even wood has been used to make vases, either by using tree species that naturally resist rot, such as teak, or by applying a protective coating to conventional wood. Vases are often decorated, and they are often used to hold cut flowers.

Vases generally have a similar shape. The foot or the base may be bulbous, flat, carinate,[1] or another shape. The body forms the main portion of the piece. Some vases have a shoulder, where the body curves inward, a neck, which gives height, and a lip, where the vase flares back out at the top. Some vases are also given handles.

Various styles and types of vases have been developed around the world in different time periods, such as Chinese ceramics and Native American pottery. In the pottery of ancient Greece "vase-painting" is the traditional term covering the famous fine painted pottery, often with many figures in scenes from Greek mythology. Such pieces may be referred to as vases regardless of their shape; most were in fact used for holding or serving liquids, and many would more naturally be called cups, jugs and so on. In 2003, Grayson Perry won the Turner Prize for his ceramics, typically in vase form.


There is a long history of the form and function of the vase in almost all developed cultures, and often ceramic objects are all the artistic evidence left from vanished cultures. In the beginning stages of pottery, the coiling method of building was the most utilized technique to make pottery. The coiling method is the act of working the clay into long strings that a cylindral shape that later become smooth walls.[2]

Potter's Wheel[edit]

The potter's wheel was probably invented in Mesopotamia by the 4th millennium BCE, but spread across nearly all Eurasia and much of Africa, though it remained unknown in the New World until the arrival of Europeans.[3]The earliest discovery of the origins of the potter’s wheel was in southern Iraq. The discovery of this technique was beneficial to the people of south Iraq because it served as a substitute to their previous inefficient traditions. Upon this new technique it would then grow gradually and even be adopted for the use of decorating pottery. [4]

Garden vase[edit]

Garden vases are usually V-shaped but they can also be cylindrical or bowl-shaped. They are usually made of ceramic or, today, plastic. Examples are the Torlonia Vase[5] and the Medici Vase in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.[6]

Torlonia Vase[edit]

The Torlonia vase is an arrangement or structure that resembles that of a blossomed flower. This vase was made using a relief structure called the high frieze technique. The high frieze technique exemplifies exceptional use of perfect details carved with a Bacchic symposium. The symposium usually has bearded satyrs' masks on the vase and three handles on the rim and also stands on three legs that resemble legs of a lion. The Torlonia vase was the largest in diameter of known antique vases for centuries until the Tazza Albani vase came along. Before being in possession of the Princess Torlonia in Rome, the vase passed through many important ancient times and former ages.[5]

Medici Case[edit]

The Medici vase originated in Athens in the later half of 1st century AD. This vase is made out of marble and is shaped like a mixing bowl. The first use for this type of vase was for garden decoration for the Roman market. The place of the Medici Vase in the Western canon of Greek and Roman remains may be gauged by its prominent position in the composed views or capricchie that were a specialty of the Roman painter Giovanni Paolo Panini, to pick the outstanding example.[6]


Ancient Greece:




See also[edit]

Material Types[edit]


  1. ^ Emmanuel Cooper. 2000. Ten Thousand Years of Pottery, fourth edition, University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0-8122-3554-1, ISBN 978-0-8122-3554-8, 352 pages
  2. ^ "Ceramic Art". May 31, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Moorey, Peter Roger Stuart (1994).". Ancient Mesopotamian Material's and Industries: The Archaeological Evidence. p. 146. 
  4. ^ Bryant, Victor. "The Origins of the Potter's Wheel". Ceramics Today. Retrieved August 14, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Museo Torlonia". inv. 174. Luca Leoncini, "The Torlonia Vase: History and Visual Records from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries", Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 54 (1991:99-116). 
  6. ^ a b "Several 17th and 18th-century variants are illustrated in John Goldsmith Phillips". "The Choisy-Ménars Vases" The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, 25.6 (February 1967:242-250). 

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