Ceramics in the Kingdoms of Cyprus

Bird-shaped vessel

Bird-shaped vessel
Cypro-Archaic II period (ca. 900-750 BC)
Ceramic with wheel-made and handmade parts, and painted decoration
Palaepaphos Local Museum

During the earliest phase of the Cypriot kingdoms, the island’s potters favored geometric patterns. Later, a pictorial style became popular, and in the “free-field” style, single stylized images of birds, animals, or plants were painted on a pale ground. Some Cypriot potters pursued their own imaginations, while others adapted styles from foreign lands.

Foreign Inspirations

Many of the ceramics excavated on Cyprus illustrate the island’s trade connections with Greece, Egypt, Phoenicia, and other nations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greek Influence

Greece’s influence on Cyprus can be seen in all of these vessels. The lecythos and black-glazed items are imports from Attica on the Greek mainland. The two larger jugs are typical Cypriot pieces that incorporate Greek decorative elements. The small female figure on the larger jug may connect the piece to worship of the Great Goddess.