Modern Artists Show How the Ancient Greeks & Romans Made Coins, Vases & Artisanal Glass

Some­times the old ways work best. That assump­tion, or at least the assump­tion that the most cen­turies-test­ed tech­niques can still pro­duce inter­est­ing results, under­pins many of the Art Insti­tute of Chicago’s Launch­pad videos. The series, designed to give vis­i­tors con­text for the arti­facts they see there, reveals the process behind the prod­uct, and some new prod­ucts may come out of some very old process­es indeed. In the case of the video at the top, we see the cre­ation of an ancient Greek vase — or, rather, a new vase, cre­at­ed as the ancient Greeks did — from the clay purifi­ca­tion to the knead­ing to the shap­ing to the illus­tra­tion to the fir­ing.

Just above, you can watch the ancient “free-blown tech­nique” of glass­mak­ing in action. Invent­ed around 40 B.C., glass-blow­ing gave the glass­mak­ers of the day a faster, cheap­er, more con­trol­lable way to work, which enabled them to pro­duce for a larg­er mar­ket than ever before. If you’d like to learn more about the method it dis­placed, the Art Insti­tute also has a video demon­strat­ing the old­er “core-formed” glass­mak­ing tech­nique. Pot­tery and glass­ware have an appeal­ing prac­ti­cal­i­ty, and first-rate arti­sans of those forms could no doubt make a good deal of mon­ey, but how did the mon­ey itself come into being? The Launch­pad video on coin pro­duc­tion in Ancient Greece, below, sheds light on mint­ing in antiq­ui­ty. Seri­ous artis­ti­cal­ly inclined numis­ma­tists will, of course, want to fol­low it up with its com­pan­ion piece on coin pro­duc­tion in the Roman world.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How a Bal­ti­more Hair­dress­er Became a World-Renowned “Hair Archae­ol­o­gist” of Ancient Rome

Rome Reborn – An Amaz­ing Dig­i­tal Mod­el of Ancient Rome

Learn­ing Ancient His­to­ry for Free

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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