On show and on the go: The advertising language of Athenian pottery

  • Katerina Volioti University of Roehampton
Keywords: Ancient branding, ceramic workshops, visual standardisation, low aesthetics


In this paper, I discuss the surfaces of a fragmentary kylix at the University of Reading to highlight how the Leafless Group (ca. 510 - 480 BCE) was distinct from the Haimon Group, another large-scale producer of black-figured ceramics. With its distinctiveness, the Leafless Group defined and defended its brand, as well as its place in the vase market. Although the kylix bears figural decoration, a satyr and the eye motif, which may both point to the realm of the wine god Dionysos, here I have not treated these either as components of a pictorial narrative or as semiotic units that served the pot’s symbolism. Instead, I have understood the two images, regardless of whether or not they inter-related, as integral aspects of the pot’s visual impact, and of potters’ and painters’ efforts to brand their product in such a way that it made references both to the workshop (and its business model) and to other earlier and contemporary Athenian figured wares.
Werbung in der Antike