Near the end of the sixth century B.C., a revolution took place in vase painting techniques. Instead of painting the figures black, the new vase painters left the figures red and painted the background around them. Where details in the earlier form were added by engraving down to the base color, this technique would serve no purpose on the red clay figures. Instead, a brush was used to add black or white. These new designs are called red figure.
Sometimes a single vase will appear to be black figure on one side and red figure on the other. Such vessels are referred to as bi-lingual.
Ancient/Classical History Glossary
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