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Byzantine and Christian Museum :: Temporary exhibitions .::. Previous exhibitions

From Byzantium to the Modern World Handmade Ceramics of Chios -17th–19th c.

10 March 2023 until 15 May 2023

New temporary exhibition at the Byzantine and Christian Museum

“From Byzantium to the Modern World
Handmade Ceramics of Chios (17th–19th c.)”

The Byzantine & Christian Museum and the Directorate of Modern and Intangible Cultural Heritage invite you to the opening of the temporary exhibition “From Byzantium to the Modern World. Handmade Ceramics of Chios (17th–19th c.), and the presentation of Nikos Liaros’s book “Ceramics of Chios (17th–19th c.) – Angelos Vlastaris Collection” on Thursday 9 March 2023 at 16:00.

The book will be introduced by Platon Petridis, Professor of Byzantine Archaeology at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Anastasia Yangaki, Director of Research at the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation, Panos Papanagiotou, designer of the book, and the author. 
The aim of the exhibition and this edition is to highlight the modern culture, history and society of the island of Chios through ceramic vessels of everyday use.

The great cultural and economic prosperity of Chios in modern times, the intensive agricultural and manufacturing activity, which is best exemplified in mastic production, and the strategic location of the island near major trading centres and maritime routes have given rise to a diverse pottery production. The island’s workshops produced a variety of different ceramics, from massive handmade tiles and robust pithoi (jars) to wheel-thrown pitchers and miniature jugs for the distribution of mastic.  

The handmade ceramics displayed in the exhibition range from pithoi (jars), pithoid vessels and pithos lids to pipes, conduits, tiles, basins and any other object whose size was too large to be modelled on the pottery wheel. The production of handmade ceramics was undertaken by specialized potters, called “kanalades”. The “kanalades” used special clay mixtures and specific tools, and fired their ceramics in unusual kilns, forming a characteristic and ancient operational chain rooted in Byzantium that survived only on Chios in the modern Aegean.  

However, the significance of the handmade ceramics of Chios does not lie only in their age-old craft. Their forms and the symbols rendered on their rough surface by the “kanalades” reflect a new era during which Greek communities flourished, script was disseminated among the rural population, and craftsmen started dating their works, thus integrating their creations and themselves into the linear flow of time, developing historical and national consciousness. It was the age of the Neo-Hellenic Enlightenment.   

This era was abruptly terminated by the massacre of Chios, an appalling event that put an end to this glorious period of the island and its production of handmade ceramics with the rich decoration and vivid symbols. 

Opening: Thursday 9 March 2023, at 16:00
Duration: 10 March 2023 to 15 May 2023