Hertzian and explosive indentations were used to determine the damage behavior of SiC and Si3N4 ceramics. Specimens were selected with different microstructures. In order to observe the subsurface damaged zone, the bonded interface technique was adopted. It was found that the damage response depends strongly on the microstructure of ceramics. Examination of subsurface damage reveals a competition between brittle and quasiplastic damage mode: brittle fracture mode is dominant in fine grain microstructure; quasiplastic deformation occurs in coarse grain. Dynamic indentation induces subsurface yield zone which contains extensive micro-cracks. The role of microstructure on static and dynamic damage behavior are discussed in terms of the weakness of grain boundary and grain size.