The Ancient Library
 

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On this page: Vases (continued)

607

VASES.

('2l * AllellAU DRKEK VASES.

(Bircb, Ancient Pottery, figs. 126, 127; the vnse to tbc extreme left ia in the British Museum.)

point; the field is interspersed with rosettes (.see figs. 2 and 3). (b) Vases with designs representing human figures, with mytho­logical themes set amid zones of animals, and other varieties of oriental decoration, (c) Vases with mythological subjects bear­ing inscriptions in Corinthian characters ascribed to the earlier half of the 7th cen­tury B.C. The most remarkable specimen of this kind is the Dodwell pyxis,1 now in

(3) * CORINTHIAN VASE, FROM TULCI.

Height, 8) inches; greatest diameter, 1H inches. (MuMUm of Geology, Jeimyn Street, C 30.)

the Pinakothek at Munich, with its body decorated with rows of oriental animals in black and red, and its lid adorned with a scene from the Calydonian Hunt, in which Agamemnon and other heroes are distin­guished by their names (Baumeister, fig. 2046). It is on such vases that we find the earliest signatures of the names of their artists; viz., Chares on a pyxis resembling that just mentioned, and Timonldas on an elegantly shaped and carefully painted vase at Athens, representing Achilles lying in wait for Troilus (Baumeister, fig. 2100). At Athens the introduction of the " Coriu-

1 A pyxin is a perfume-box, with a rounded body, and a lid surmounted by a knob.

thian " style of vase has been ascribed to the middle of the 7th century b.c. The transition is represented in a group of vases called PhalerOn ware, first found on the road between Athens and the port of Phaleron (British Museum, ib. Cases 20,21).

(8) The pottery of Rhodrs (Baumeister, figs. 2083-5) reached its highest develop­ment about the time of the later Dipylon vases (ib. fig. 2072). The most celebrated specimen of Rhodian ware is the pinax or platter in the British Museum represent­ing a combat between Menelaus and Hector over the wounded Euphorbus, with their names inscribed in archaic letters ascribed to the end of the 7th century. This is probably the earliest known vase bearing a Greek inscription. The design has some dramatic interest, though the painting (which is in brown and red ochres on a red ground) is but rudely executed (fig. 4} Platters of the same type have been found at Naucratls in Egypt.

(II) Vases with black figures.

These were in vogue from about 540-460 B.C., not to mention later times, down to the 4th century, when they were reproduced in imitation of earlier work. They are painted in glossy black enamel on a red, slightly glazed, clay ground, or (less fre­quently) on a cream-white ground. The hands, arms, and faces of female figures are painted white (fig. 5), while red is used to define clearly all kinds of details, such as hair, crests of helmets, variegated patterns or borders in a garment. The faces are almost always in profile, and yet the eyes are shown front-wise—a method of treat­ment which survived even among vases of the next period. The countenance is desti­tute of expression, and uniform in type ; and the figures stand out as silhouettes against the light. The designs are usually mythological, and mainly Dionysiac, Among many other subjects we have scenes from the Trojan war, the labours of Heracles, and the legends of Attica, especially that of Theseus. Some of the principal subdivi­sions are the following:

(1) Vases with cream-white ground. Of the few specimens of this kind the most remarkable is the cylixl of Arcesllas, king of Cyrene, in which the king is to be seen superintending the weighing out of a num­ber of bales of silphium, the most valuable product of the country (Aristophanes, Plutus

1 A cyliv is a fiat, shallow, and very wide saucer, with two side handles and a tall stem or foot.

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