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A vase is an open container. It can be made from a number of materials, such as ceramics, glass, non-rusting metals, such as aluminium, brass, bronze, or stainless steel. Even wood has been used to make vases, either by using tree species that naturally resist rot, such as teak, or by applying a protective coating to conventional wood or plastic. Vases are often decorated, and they are often used to hold cut flowers. Vases come in different sizes to support whatever flower it is holding or keeping in place.

Vases generally share a similar shape. The foot or the base may be bulbous, flat, carinate, or another shape. The body forms the main portion of the piece. Some vases have a shoulder, where the body curves inward, a neck, which gives height, and a lip, where the vase flares back out at the top. Some vases are also given handles.

Various styles and types of vases have been developed around the world in different time periods, such as Chinese ceramics and Native American pottery. In the pottery of ancient Greece "vase-painting" is the traditional term covering the famous fine painted pottery, often with many figures in scenes from Greek mythology. Such pieces may be referred to as vases regardless of their shape; most were in fact used for holding or serving liquids, and many would more naturally be called cups, jugs and so on. In 2003, Grayson Perry won the Turner Prize for his ceramics, typically in vase form.

Vase Media

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Archaic Greek Lekythos

Archaic Greek Lekythos

Attributed to the Capodimonte Group Archaic

Archaic Greek Lekythos

Archaic Greek Lekythos

Warrior, horse, palm tree. Attributed to the Class of Athens 581 Archaic

Archaic Greek Kylix fragments

Archaic Greek Kylix fragments

Herakles fighting an Amazon. Attributed to the Segment Class Archaic

Terracotta conical cup

Terracotta conical cup

Rough clay, undecorated. Middle Minoan IIIA

Greek Terracotta oinochoe (jug)

Greek Terracotta oinochoe (jug)

The neck shows a man with two horses; a file of mules grazes in the panel on the shoulder; a bird perches on top of the handle. Geometric

Greek Terracotta tankard

Greek Terracotta tankard

On the neck, waterbirds. Geometric

Vase fragment, terracota, Europe, Greece

Vase fragment, terracota, Europe, Greece

Accession Number: 07.232.129 Early Minoan II

Greek Squat lekythos, Classical period

Greek Squat lekythos, Classical period

Black with offset band around belly. Classical

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