In the course of MM III the fashion for polychrome schemes gradually died out, but at the very end of the period (MM III B) a new naturalistic style was born, inspired by the floral and marine frescoes on the walls of the second palaces.
The wide distribution of MM pottery illustrates the vigour of Cretan commercial enterprise; several Minoan emporia were founded in the Aegean Islands, while exports also reached Cyprus, Egypt, and the Levant. Potters were much influenced by work in richer and more spectacular media: many of their shapes can be traced to originals in gold and bronze found in Cretan palaces and Mycenaean tombs.adapted to the shape of the vase.
They provide the first instance of the use of tin glaze; although the date of its introduction cannot be certainly determined.
A well-known fragment from Nimrūd in the British Museum belongs to about 890 extremely large friezes, one of them about 11 yards (10 metres) long, were being erected at Susa.
Over a dark lustrous ground the ornament is added in red and white, the carefully composed designs striking a subtle balance between curvilinear abstract patterns and stylized motifs derived from plant and marine life.
The decoration sometimes takes the form of appliqué molded ornament or barbotine (made of slip) knobs.
The motifs are partly geometric, partly stylized but easily recognizable representations of waterfowl and running dogs, usually in friezes.
The pottery of Early Minoan Crete bears simple geometrical patterns, at first in dark paint on a light clay ground (EM I–II), and subsequently in white over a coat of dark paint (EM III).
The surface of the ware of Vasílikí in eastern Crete (EM II) has a mottled red and black appearance.
The earliest forms of decoration were geometrical or stylized animal or scenic motifs painted in white slip on a red body.
There is comparatively little variation until the 26th dynasty () showing signs of Greek influence.
Later, the colouring materials common to the Egyptian glassmaker, including cobalt and manganese, were added. All Neolithic vases are handmade, and the best are highly polished; in other respects, the various local schools have little in common, since communications were severely limited in this remote period.