2 - 1 - 3 South Ionian Pottery

@Early Wild Goat Style

Outline technique, used for heads for silhouette figures, introduced by the painters of the early Orientalizing period are developed and applied for the whole parts of the figures. This introduction of the outlines as the main techinique gave the birth of the wild goat style.

The most common shape is oinochoe with a stout body and a simple round mouth. The handle is created from generally three clay ropes. At each side of the junction of the handle and lip has a rotelle, or a small disc, which indicates the shape was copied from bronze vessels.

As indicated by the name, wild goat style, commonest figure is a wild goat, but other figures, such as lions, hounds, hares, Griffins and Sphinxes also often depicted. Favoured patterns are a cable patten consisting of two lines and dots (fig.1) and checker pattern (fig.2). The pattern consisting of four diamonds (fig.3) is the commonest pattern for the back ground, which still retains more space than later examples.




These vases were probably made at South Ionia and maybe by a workshop or several workshops with close relationship each other. Since clay analysis of the middle wild goat style II pottery shows it was made at Miletos, these earlier vessels were probably also made at same place.

Middle Wild Goat Style I

Around c.640 they developed the style into so called middle wild goat style, which is sub-divided into I and II. Although in the middle wild goat style I they still used normal oinochoai, they gradually introduced oinochoai with longer bodies and trefoil lips. They also introduced Kraters and fruit dishes, or footed plates.

The commonest pattern in this period is a twisted line (fig.4) and they also introduced a tongue pattern (fig.5). Later painters introduced a lotus flower and bud pattern (fig.6) which became the commonest decoration for the frieze on lower body. The meander pattern (fig.7) on neck was replaced by a cable pattern (fig.8).






They introduced various filling ornaments which covered much space of the back ground (fig.9-11). Some patterns, such as half rosettes (fig.12) and triangular patterns (fig.13), are attached to the upper and lower border of the friezes.






For the arrangement of the composition, figures on the shoulder generally are arranged symmetrically and face to the centre except for the figure on each end who faces different direction. A frieze on the body generally has hunting scene and the figures move from left to right, though it sometimes includes a figure or two running to opposit direction or looking back. This hunting scene is often replaced by goats or deers slowly moving in the later period.

Although it is almost contemporary with the transitional style of the Corinthian pottery, the techniques they used, outline and black figure technique, are completely different. Some schlars believe that Corinthian style was influenced by Eastern figures on metal vessels, while the wild goat style was by figures on textile, though it is sometimes disputed [1]. Its relationship with painted pottery from the Asia Minor also should be studied [2]. Some filling ornaments on wild goat style pottery must be the influence from Athenian pottery through Cycladic pottery [3].

More vessels are found from many places including Al Mina, Krete, Italy and Sicily. These vessels were probably made at Miletos.

Middle Wild Goat Style II

The middle wild goat style was developed into the second phase around 625, though the difference from the previous phase is not always clear. Generally the depiction was simplified and especially simple meander patterns (fig.14) replaced traditional cable patterns on the necks. Bodies of animals were elongated to reduce the numbers of the animals within friezes from 6-7 figures to 4 figures.


Filling ornaments also became simpler, such as a triangle pattern lost a drop (fig.15). Concentric circles became commoner and meander and square patterns are often depicted on necks (fig.17). Lotus buds and flowers also became wider to reduce the numbers.




Many shapes were introduced in this period. Fruit dishes introduced in the previous phase became commoner [4]. The inside is divided into several zones. The centre has a large palmette or lotus which was encircled by several lines. A frieze with patterns such as meanders (fig.18) surrounds the circle. The second frieze encircling this frieze is the main picture and subdivided into several metopes flanked by a ray pattern (fig.19). This combination recalls metopes and trigryphs on Doric temples. The metopes generally have the heads of wild goats and sphinxes, water birds and large rosettes. They also painted on bowls, dinoi and amphorae, though these shapes were less common.



These vessles were even found from Israel, as well as from Naukratis and Tocra, North Africa. These examples are important for dating the establishment of these colonies [5]. After the end of this second phase, at about 590, this style was followed by North Ionian workshops as the late wild goat style, while South Ionian workshops introduced the vases with new style, the Fikellura pottery.

[1] For the origin of wild goat style, see, K.Brown, "The question of Near Eastern textile decoration of the Early first millennium BC as a source for Greek Vase Painting of the Orientalizing style" (1989).
[2] Similar representation of animals and patterns can be found on veses from Gordion, tomb III. For these founds, see, Kšrte,G. & Kšrte,A. "Gordion, Ergebnisse der Ausgrabung im Jahre 1900" (1904).
[3] For the relationship of patterns between Attic, Cycladic and East Greek pottery, see, Kardara, C. P., "On mainland and Rhodian workshops shortly before 600 B.C.", AJA 59, pp.49-54.
[4] Similarily arranged dishes are also found from Gordion.
[5] For the vases from Tocra, see, Boardman, J. and Hayes, J., Excavations at Tocra 1-2, (1966, 1973).