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date: 18 April 2024



  • Dorothy Burr Thompson
  •  and Michael Vickers


The term properly includes all objects made of fired clay; commonly, pots and household vessels are treated separately. Fabricants (κοροπλάθοι, κοροπλάσται) were originally potters; later they were specialists who occasionally inscribed workshop or personal names. Earlier terracottas were modelled free-hand; after the 6th cent. bce they were usually made in moulds. Decoration at first resembled that of pots; from the 6th cent. figurative work was covered with a white slip (perhaps to evoke ivory?) and details painted. The relative status of terracotta was low; cf. *Apollonius(12) of Tyana who preferred ‘to find an image of gold and ivory in a small shrine, than a big shrine with nothing but a rubbishy terracotta thing in it’ (Philostr.VA 5. 2).Terracotta was used for: *sarcophagi (*Crete, *Clazomenae, Etruria; see etruscans), ash-urns (Etruria), *altars (arulae), incense burners (thymiatēria.


  • Greek Material Culture

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