Post by Anuja Khandelwal, MA Graphic Design student.
On my visit to London in January 2018, I visited The British Museum. Its permanent collection, numbering some eight million works, is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.
I began my tour by exploring Ancient Greek artefacts and was left spellbound by the exquisite terracotta handcrafts. These novel product designs spoke volumes of the finesse of those ancient times.
The wide variety of terracotta vases, flasks, masks, drinking cups, bottles were mainly made in Corinth in the eighth and seventh centuries BC. These figurines abound and provide an invaluable testimony to the everyday life and religion of the ancient Greeks.
The decorations on the figurines range from rows of parallel and wavy lines, chevrons and herons to the most meticulous miniaturist style in which intricate floral designs entwine real and fantastic animals, gods and heroes.
As a design student, what caught my attention was the unique and interesting product design of perfume and oil bottles which are called ‘aryballos’. An aryballos was a small spherical or globular flask with a narrow neck, used in Ancient Greece to contain perfume or oil.
The bottles were designed in the form of a lion mask, a siren, a ram, a female head, a dolphin and in various other forms.
The utterly fascinating aspect was the ancient people’s observation of living forms around them and incorporating such features into the design of everyday use products which have sustained the test of time as well.
Such immaculately designed artefacts gave me inspiration for some innovative packaging designs that I am interested to get to work on in future.