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History of Greek Minoan Pottery

Rustica Gift history of Minoan Pottery


The Island of Crete, Home to Beauty, History & Contemporary Dinnerware Design

Minoan pottery is another ancient craft, reflecting history, the values of a culture, astonishingly contemporary design and a deep commitment to beauty, symmetry and nature.  

However, where the beauty of Talavera traveled across countries and cultures, the fine art of Minoan pottery stayed largely within its home on the Crete Island.  Instead, this beautiful handcraft evolved over millennium into different periods of design, each reflecting the cultural influences of its time.

The Minoan pottery of Greece, found on the beautiful island of Crete, is a story of over three thousand years of evolving design and cultural sensitivity. Aficionados will see centuries-old dinnerware, plates and tableware that reflect the beauty and colors of nature, symmetry and functionality.

For a concise overview regarding the history and beauty of this fine pottery, we recommend reading journalist and historian Mark Cartwright's excellent entry in the Ancient History Encyclopedia:  Minoan Pottery.

The Minoans were a Bronze Age Agean civilization, dating from 3,000 B.C. to their eventual decline and disappearance in 1,100 B.C. It is believed a volcanic eruption contributed to their disappearance, although there is some mystery around the demise of this culture.

In brief, Minoan pottery is into three main periods, with very distinct design approaches.  Across these three design periods, however, the focus on graceful and functional construction and a natural color palette of terracota, white, red and black remains evident.  The Minoan artistry reflects a love of flowing, natural shapes and also of nature:  many of their earliest pieces reflect birds and animals.

Kamares Style

The first known period of Minoan pottery design, utilized for vases, plates, dinnerware and other functional and decorative pieces, was characterized by red and white designs, often very dense, on black background. This period lasted approximately from 2000-1700 BC.


Rustica Gift Minoan Pottery History Kamares Period















Marine & Floral Style

This period, from 1600-1450 BC, evolved from the Minoan civilization's advances in pottery making.  New technology, improved pottery wheels and emerging techniques resulted in thinner finished pieces, more often against a yellow-ish background and more delicate and organic designs of marine life and flowers.


Rustica Gift Minoan Pottery History Marine and Floral

New Palace Minoan

This period emerged in 1450 B.C. and reflects the influence of the Greek mainland.  A more delicate, formal and stylized design approach, the bolder colors of the early Kamares style are no longer evident. 
Instead, Minoan potters of this period created elaborate and graceful designs used for ritual vases and other purposes. Designs become more stylized and abstract, while birds and warrior gear emerges for the first time as design elements.
Rustica Gift & Pottery Minoan New Palace


The ePalladio family studio of Crete, Greece, recreates the Minoan and Cycladic island historic designs for today's modern table.  Using ancient techniques, glazes and original handcraft and potter's wheel, the two generations create stunning, functional pieces - contemporary design, centuries in the making - and the preservation of the everyday art of a long-lost civilization.


Rustica Gift ePalladio Studio recreating Minoan historic pottery