Definitions

vase

vase

[veys, veyz, vahz]
vase, vessel of pottery, glass, metal, stone, wood, or synthetic material. The pottery vase was anciently employed as a container for water (a hydria), wine (an amphora), or oil (a lekythus), or for mixing and serving wine and water (a crater). It had one or two handles, sometimes a lip or spout, and frequently a base or foot; sometimes it was pointed to thrust into the ground or was set into a frame holder for support. Large covered vases were used for general storage purposes. The cinerary (cremation) vase, or urn, has been common throughout historical times, a famous one being the Portland vase. Modern vases are widely used for flowers. Beautiful in form and embellished with incised patterns, modeled or painted figures or scenes, and sometimes inscriptions, the vase became a work of art in early times. Greek painted vases are in form and color among the most exquisite examples of ancient art. Vases or their fragments discovered in burial chambers and through excavations in various countries serve as records of the manners, customs, and history of their peoples. Buddhist and Christian altar objects include the vase, usually of silver or gold with chased or modeled designs of exquisite workmanship. Bronze and brass are much employed for vases in Asia, as well as porcelain, carved jade, and crystal in China and enamelware in the Satsuma and Kutani vases of Japan. The vase of cloisonné is also much in evidence in East Asia. The Persian pottery type is famous for its blue-green color, French Sèvres for miniature medallions, English Wedgwood for cameo reliefs, and American Rookwood for rich tones and underglaze painting.

Portland Vase, Roman cameo glass, 1st century AD; in the British Museum

Roman vase (1st century AD) of dark-blue glass decorated with white figures, the finest surviving Roman example of cameo glass. It came into the possession of the duke of Portland in the 18th century. The vase has been extensively copied, particularly in the Victorian period. The most accurate copies were made in jasperware with white figures in relief (by Josiah Wedgwood, 1790) and in glass (1876). In 1845, while in the British Museum (where it still resides), the original vase was smashed, necessitating painstaking restoration.

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The vase (/ˈveɪz/, or/ˈvɑːz/) is an open container, often used to hold cut flowers. It can be made from a number of materials including ceramics and glass. The vase is often decorated and thus used to extend the beauty of its contents.

Vases are defined as having a certain anatomy. Lowest is the foot, a distinguishable base to the piece. Next, the body, which forms the main and often largest portion of the piece. Resting atop the body is the shoulder, where the body curves inward. Then the neck, where the vase is given more height. Lastly, the lip, where the vase flares back out at the top. All these attributes can be seen in the pictures at right. Many vases are also given handles, though no examples are shown here. Today, the shapes of vases have evolved from the conventional ones to modern designs and shapes.

The vase has also developed as an art medium unto itself. The ancient Greeks famously used vases to depict scenes. It has since been developed and in 2003 the winner of the Turner Prize was Grayson Perry, for vase art.

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