1902 Encyclopedia > Pottery and Porcelain > Pottery and Porcelain (1)

Pottery and Porcelain
(Part 1)

POTTERY AND PORCELAIN. The word "pottery" (Fr. poterie) in its widest sense includes all objects made of clay, moulded into form while in a moist plastic state, and then hardened by fire. Clay, the most widely spread and abundant of all mineral substances, consists essentially of a hydrated sili-cate of alumina (see vol. x. p. 237), admixed, however, in almost all cases with various impurities. Thus it usually contains a considerable proportion of free silica, lime, and oxides of iron, its colour chiefly depending on the last in-gredient. The white kaolin clays (see KAOLIN) used in the manufacture of porcelain are the purest; they consist of silicate of alumina, with 5 to 7 per cent. of potash, and only traces of lime; iron, and magnesia.

The making of pottery depends on the chemical change that takes place when clay is heated in the fire; the hydrated silicate of alumina becomes anhydrous, and, though the baked vessel can absorb mechanically a large quantity of water, the chemical state, and with it the hard-ness of the vessel, remains unaltered. A well-baked piece of clay is the most durable of all manufactured substances. In preparing clay for the potter it is above all things necessary that it should be worked and beaten, with sufficient water to make it plastic, into a perfectly homogeneous mass. Any inequalities cause an irregular expansion during the firing, and the pot cracks or flies to pieces. In early times the clay was prepared by being kneaded by the hands or trampled by the feet (see Isa. x1i. 25); modern manu-facturers prepare it on a larger scale by grinding it between mill-stones, and mixing it in a fluid state with an addi-tional quantity of silica, lime, and other substances.

During the process of firing all clays shrink in volume, partly through the loss of water and partly on account of in-crease of density. What are called "fat" clays—those, that is to say, which are very plastic and unctuous—shrink very much, losing from one-third to one-fourth of their bulk ; they are also very liable to crack or twist during the firing. "Lean" clays—those that have a large percentage of free silica—shrink but little, and keep their form unaltered under the heat of the kiln ; they are not, however, so easy to mould into the required shape, and thus a certain com-promise is frequently required. Lean and fat clays are mixed together, or silica (sand or ground and calcined flints) is added to a fat clay in sufficient quantity to enable it to stand the firing. The same result may be attained by the addition of broken pots, crushed or ground, an ex-pedient practised during the earliest stages of the develop-ment of the art of pottery.

Classification.—Many attempts have been made to classify pottery and porcelain according to their mode of manufacture. The classification of M. Brongniart (Traité des Arts Céamiques, Paris, 1854) has been followed by most later writers. With some modifications it is as follows:—

1. Soft pottery, easily fusible.

(a) Biscuit.—Simple baked clay, porous and without gloss. Example, a common modern flower-pot.

(b) Glossy.—Fine clay covered with an almost imperceptible vitreous glaze. Example, most Greek vases.

(c) Glazed.—Clay covered with a perceptible coating of glass. Example, common white earthenware plates.

(d) Enamelled.—Clay covered with a vitreous coating made opaque by white oxide of tin. Example, Italian majolica.

2. Stoneware, very hard and infusible.

(a) Very silicious clay covered with a lead vitreous glaze. Example, old grey Flemish ware.

(b) Silicious clay covered with a salt glaze. Example, a modern brown ginger-beer


3. Porcelain, white, semi-transparent, and only fused at a high temperature.

(a) Hard Porcelain.—Natural kaolinic clay covered with a felspar glaze. Example, porcelain of China and Japan.

(b) Soft Porcelain.—Artificial paste covered with a lead vitreous glaze. Example, early Sèvres porcelain.

This classification is necessarily imperfect, some pottery coming under two heads, as, for instance, much of the Italian majolica, which is both enamelled and glazed. For this reason in the following article pottery will be treated according to its age and country, not according to its method of manufacture. Porcelain differs from pottery in being whiter, harder, less fusible, and (most essential difference) in being slightly translucent. The paste of which it is formed is a purer silicate of alumina than the clay of which pottery is made. It will therefore be de-scribed under separate heads (p. 633 sq., infra).

For the sake of clearness it will be well to define the sense in which technical words relating to pottery are used in this article. Body or paste is the clay of which the main bulk of a pot is made. Slip is clay finely ground and mixed with water to the consistency of cream. It is usually applied over the whole surface of a vessel in order to give it a finer face or a different colour from that of the body of the pot. It is also sometimes applied partially, forming ornaments in relief, as in the case of some Roman ware and the coarse 17th-century pottery of Staffordshire described below. Glaze is a thin coating of glass, evenly fused over the surface of a clay vessel to make it harder, and also to render it impervious to water. Clay simply baked without a vitreous coating is called biscuit; its surface is dull, and it is more or less porous. The sim-plest and oldest form of glaze is a pure silicate of soda; the addition of oxide of lead makes the glaze more fusible, but less hard and durable. For decorative purposes glazes may be coloured by various metallic oxides without losing their transparency. Enamel is a glaze with the addition of some substance to render it opaque. Binoxide of tin has the peculiar property that when even a small quantity is added to a transparent glass it renders it opaque and white without otherwise altering its character. Great con-fusion has been caused in various works on pottery by a careless use of the terms "glaze" and "enamel"; they are both of the nature of glass, but the best distinction to make is to apply the word "enamel" to a vitreous coating that is opaque, and the word "glaze" to one that is trans-parent; both may be coloured. The method of applying vitreous coatings to clay, whether enamel or glaze, is this. The materials are ground fine and mixed with water to the consistency of cream. The pot is dipped in the mixture, or the fluid is applied with a brush; it is then set to dry, and finally fired in the kiln, which must be heated sufficiently to fuse the component parts of the glaze or enamel into one smooth vitreous coating, while on the other hand it must not be hot enough to soften or melt the clay body of the vessel. The use of oxide of lead enables a glaze to be applied to a clay body which would not stand the high temperature necessary to combine and fuse a pure silico-alkaline glaze. In order to prevent the glaze or enamel from blistering or cracking off there must be a certain similarity of substance between the clay body and the vitreous coating. A fine silicious glaze or enamel will not adhere to a soft fat clay unless the proportion of silica in the latter is increased either by admixture of a harder, more silicious clay, or the addition of pure silica either in the form of sand or of ground flint.

The Potter’s Wheel.—All pottery, except the rudest and most primitive sorts, is moulded or "thrown" by the aid of a very simple contrivance, a small round table fixed on a revolving pivot. Fig. 1, from a tomb-painting at Thebes, shows its simplest form. The potter at intervals gives a spin to the table, which continues to revolve for some time without a fresh impulse. This form of wheel, used by the Egyptians (as is shown by existing fragments of pottery) about 4000 B.C., is still employed without any alteration by the potters of many parts of India. A later improvement introduced in Egypt under the Ptolemies was to have another larger circular table, fixed lower down on the sarne axis, which the potter set in movement with his feet, and thus was able to keep up a regular speed and leave his hands free for the manipulation of the clay (see fig. 2). No process in any handicraft is more beautiful than that of a potter moulding a vessel on the wheel. The ease with which the plastic clay answers to the touch of the hand, and rises or falls, taking a whole succession of symmetrical shapes, and seeming, as it were, instinct with the life and thought of the potter, makes this art beautiful and striking beyond all others, in which the desired form can only be attained by comparatively slow and laborious methods. Ancient poetry is full of allusions to this. Homer (Il., xviii. 600) compares the rhythm of a dance to the measured spin of a potter’s wheel; and the rapid ease with which a clay vessel is made and remade in a new form is described by Jeremiah (xviii. 3-4) in one of his most forcible similes (compare Horace, A. P., 21-22). Among the Egyptians of the Ptolemaic period the potter was used as a type of the Creator. Nouf or Knoum, the divine spirit, and Pthah, the creator of the mundane egg, are symbolized by human figures moulding clay on the potter’s wheel.1 The wheel and egg are shown above in fig. 2

FOOTNOTE (page 601)

1 See Rossellino, Monumenti dell’ Egitto, pl. xxi. and xxii., 1844.

Kilns for firing Pottery.—The earliest form of kiln, as represented in Egyptian wall-paintings, is a tall circular chamber of brick, with a perforated floor near the bottom. The fuel was introduced from an opening on one side, and raked in under the brick floor. The pottery to be baked was piled up in the upper part of the chamber. Fig. 3, from a potter’s votive tablet from Corinth, shows an early Greek form of kiln, with a place for the fuel on one side, and a door in the side of the upper chamber through which the pottery could be put in and withdrawn. The Corinthian kiln differs from the Egyptian kiln in being domed over, but it is the same in principle. Even at the present day kilns shaped almost exactly like this early Greek one are still largely used.


The art of making pottery is one of the most extreme antiquity ; with the exception of the cave-dwellers of the Drift or Palaeolithic period it was practised by all known prehistoric races from the Neolithic age downwards. The sepulchral barrows of Britain and other European countries have supplied vast stores of this earliest kind of pottery. It is mostly formed of coarse clay, generally brown in colour, though sometimes grey or reddish; some few specimens are fine in texture and have a slightly glossy surface. The clay, while moist, has been kneaded with some care, and is often mixed with a proportion of gravel, coarse sand, quartz crystals, or pounded pottery. The more carefully made specimens, chiefly those of the bronze and iron ages, are frequently covered with a smooth slip, made of the same clay as the body, but finely pounded and thoroughly mixed. All are alike "hand-made," without any assistance from the potter’s wheel; some of the smaller ones are scooped out of a solid ball of clay, while in some cases great skill has been shown in the building up, by the unaided hand, of the thin walls of larger vessels, some of which are so round and neatly formed as to appear at first sight to be wheel-made. This, however, is never the case with the pottery of the three great prehistoric periods.

The shapes found in the sepulchral barrows of Britain, France, Scandinavia, and other countries are usually classified thus—(1) cinerary urns, (2) food vessels, (3) drinking-cups, and (4) the so-called "incense cups" (see fig. 4).

(1) Cinerary urns, usually found full of burned bones, are the largest, varying from 12 to 18 inches in height. They are mostly less ornamented and less carefully made than the smaller vessels. Most have their decoration confined to a band round the upper part of the pot, or often only a projecting flange lapped round the whole rim. A few have small handles, formed of pierced knobs of clay, and sometimes projecting rolls of clay looped, as it were, all round the urn. (2) Food-vessels vary considerably in size and form. Some are shaped like a tea-cup, with a handle on one side ; others are like small cineray urns, either quite plain or with pierced knob-handles and bans of ornaments incisedd or imoressed. (3) Drinking cups mostly from 6 to 8 inches high, vary but little in form and are usually completely covered with ornaments.They are often made with considerable care and skill, and are not ungraceful in shape. The names given to the preceding three classes possibly express their real use, but the name of the fourth class, "incense cups," is purely imaginary. Under this head are comprised a number of small vessels of very varied shape, some with their sides pierced through with square or lozenge-sliaped openings, while others, almost globular in shape, have several pierced knob-handles, as if for suspension. Some are quite plain, and others are covered with ornament. Their use is unknown; one possible suggestion is that they were intended to carry fire from some sacred source to light the funeral pyre. Canon Greenwell, probably the best authority on this subject, believes, contrary to the opinion of many antiquaries, that none of the above classes of barrow-pottery were intended for domestic use, but that they were made solely to be buried with the dead. He considers that a fifth class of pottery, chiefly in the form of bowls, which has occasionally been found, not in barrows but in dwelling, is the only kind that was actually used for domestic purposes by prehistoric man (see Greenwell, British Barrows, 1877).

The ornament which is often lavishly applied on prehistoric pottery is of especial interest. It frequently consists of lines of small dots impressed from a notched piece of wood or metal, arranged in various patterns-crosses, chevrons, or zigzags. All the patterns were stamped into the body of the pot before it was hardened by fire. The lines were frequently made by pressing a twisted thong of skin against the moist clay, so that a sort of spiral sunk line was produced. Other bands of ornament were made by wooden stamps; the end of a hollow round stick was used to form a row of small circles, or a round stick was used sideways to produce semicircular depressions. In some cases the incised lines or dots have been filled up with a white slip of pipeclay. Considerable taste and invention are shown by many of these combined ornaments, and a certain richness of decorative effect is produced on some of the best drinking-cups ; but one thing is to be noted : all the main lines are straight, no wavy lines or circles appearing, except in very rare instances—a fact which points to the very limited artistic development attained by the prehistoric races.

Prehistoric pottery has sometimes been described as "sun-baked," but this is not the case ; however imperfectly baked, the pieces, have all been permanently hardened by fire, otherwise they would certainly not have lasted to our time.. This was done in a very rough and imperfect manner, not in a kiln but in an open fire, so, that in some cases the pots have received a superficial black colour from the smoke of the fuel. Great quantities of this pottery have been found in the sepulchral barrows of Great Britain and Ireland ; those from the latter country are usually very superior in neatness of execution to the British specimens. The British Museum is specially rich in this class of pottery, chiefly the result of excavations made in British barrows by Canon Greenwell.

For prehistoric pottery, see Greenwell, British Barrows, 1877; Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, 1865; Boyd Dawkins, Early Man in Britain, 1880; D. Wilson, Prehistoric Man, 3d ed., 1876, and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland 1851 Keller, Lake-Dwellings in Switzerland (tr.,by Lee, 1878); Bonstetten, Recueil d’Anfiquités Suisses, 1855-57; Perrin, Etude Préhistorique, 1870: Troyon Habitations Lacustres, 1860; Borlase, Naenia Cornubiae, 1872.


But few examples remain which date from the time of the earlier dynasties of Egypt, though from the XVIIIth Dynasty downwards a great quantity of specimens exist. Broken fragments, embedded in the clay bricks of which some of the oldest pyramids are built, supply us with a few imperfect samples whose date can be fixed. The early pottery of Egypt is of many varieties of quality: some is formed of coarse brown clay moulded by hand without the aid of the wheel; other specimens, thin and carefully wheel-made, are of fine red clay, with a slight surface gloss, something like the "Samian" pottery of the Romans. Some fragments of brown clay have been found, covered with a smooth slip made of a creamy white or yellowish clay. The early use of fine coloured enamels, afterwards brought to such perfection in Egypt, is shown by the enamelled clay plaques in black, white, and greenish blue which decorated the doorway of the great step-pyramid at Sakkára. Each plaque has a pierced projection at the back, so that it could be firmly fixed by means of a wood or metal dowel.

Egypt is rich in materials for pottery, both glazed and enamelled. The finest of clays is washed down and deposited by the Nile; the sandy deserts supply pure silica; and a great part of the soil is saturated with the alkali necessary for the composition of vitreous enamels and glazes. In spite, however, of this abundance of materials the Egyptians never learned to apply either their enamels or their glazes, both of great beauty, to their larger works in pottery made of the fine Nile clay. The reason probably was that the clay was too fat, and therefore a vitreous coating would have flaked off during the firing, while they had not discovered the simple expedient of mixing, with the native clay an addition of sand (silica), which would have enabled both glazes and enamels to form a firm coating over the body of the vessel. The colours used for Egyptian enamels and glazes are very varied, and of great beauty and brilliance. The glazes themselves are pure alkaline silicates, free from lead. The enamels are the same, with the addition of oxide of tin. The metallic oxides used to give the colours are these,various shades of blue and green, protoxide of copper, or more rarely cobalt ; purple and violet, oxide of manganese; yellow, iron or antimoniate of lead; red, sub-oxide of copper or iron ; black, magnetic oxide of iron or manganese. The white enamel is simply silicate of soda with oxide of tin. The blues and greens, whether used in transparent glazes or opaque enamels, are often of extreme magnificence of colour, in an endless variety of tints,—turquoise, ultramarine, deep indigo, and all shades of blue passing into green. The most remarkable specimens of Egyptian enamel work are some clay plaques or slabs, about 10 inches high, which were used to decorate the walls of Rameses II.’s palace at Tel al-Yáhúdíya, in the Delta (14th cent. B.C.). These have figures of men and animals executed in many different colours in the most complicated and ingenious manner. They are partly modelled in slight relief, and then covered with coloured enamels; in other parts a sort of mosaic has been made by mixing fine clay and enamels into soft pastes, the design being fitted together and modelled in these coloured pastes while moist. The slab was then fired, and the enamel pastes were at once vitrified and fixed in their places by the heat. A third process applied to these elaborate slabs was to fit into cavities left for them certain small pieces of coloured glass or brilliant enamels, giving the effect of precious stones, which were fused into their places by a second firing. The chief figures on the plaques are processions of captives, about 8 inches high; the enamel flesh is varied according to the nationality of the prisoners : negroes are black, others white, red, or yellow. Some of the dresses are represented with great richness : various embroidered or textile patterns of the most minute scale are shown by enamel inlay of many colours, and even jewel ornaments are shown by the inserted bits of glass; the dress of some Assyrian captives has patterns of great beauty and richness,—the sacred tree between the guardian beasts, and other figures. Besides these elaborate figure-reliefs an enormous number of smaller pieces of clay inlaid with different-coloured pastes were used to form a sort of mosaic wall-decoration in this wonderful palace, the ruins of which have supplied a perfect museum of all kinds and methods of enamelled work as applied to pottery. The British Museum and the Louvre have the finest specimens of these wall-slabs (see Birch, Ancient Pottery, p. 51, 1873).

The term "Egyptian porcelain" has sometimes been given to the small mummy-figures in brilliant blues and greens. This is a misnomer. The little figures, about 3 to 6 inches high, of which immense numbers have been found, mostly dating from about the XXth Dynasty downwards, are simply formed of sand (silica) with a little alkali, and only sufficient clay to cement them together, so that they could retain the form given them by the mould into which they were pressed. The result of analysis is silica 92, alumina 4, and a slight but varying proportion of soda. They are covered with a silicious glaze, brilliantly coloured with copper oxide, and are sometimes painted under the glaze with manganese, a deep purple-violet. A few of these figures, and also small statuettes of deities, have had oxide of tin mixed with the paste; the figure has then been exposed to sufficient heat to fuse the whole into one homogeneous vitreous mass, and thus the statuette has become a solid body of fine blue enamel. A few small objects—such as libation cups, bowls, and chalice-like goblets—were also made of the same sandy paste, covered with blue-green glaze. They are thick and clumsy owing to the very unplastic nature of their paste, which necessitated their being pressed in a mould, not wheel-made. The splendour of their colour, however, makes them objects of great beauty; they usually have a little painting, lightly executed in outline with manganese purple, generally a circle of fishes swimming or designs taken from the lotus-plant (see fig. 5).

During the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties and later pottery was used in many ways for wall-decoration. Bricks or tiles of coarse brown clay were covered with a fine white slip and glazed with brilliant colours. Another method was a sort of inlay, formed by stamping incised patterns into slabs of clay and filling up the sinkings with a semi-fluid clay of some other colour, exactly like the l6th-century Oiron ware. A number of brilliant wall-tiles covered with deep blue glaze, and painted in black outline with figures and hieroglyphs, have been found in many places in Lower Egypt; the painting is very simple and decorative effect, drawn with much skill and precision of touch.

The Canopic vases are an important class and great quantities have been found in Egyptian tombs. They are generally made of plain brown-red clay, and have a lid in the shape of a human head. On them hieroglyphs are coarsely painted in black or colours (see fig. 6). They contained parts of the viscera of the corpse. The mummies themselves are frequently decked out with pectoral plates, necklaces, and other ornaments, made of clay covered with blue and other coloured enamels. Some of the pectoral plates are very elaborate works of the same class as the figure-reliefs from Tel al-Yáhúdíya, richly decorated with inlay of different-coloured pastes and enamels.

During the Ptolemaic period a quantity of graceful and well-executed pottery was made in fine red and brown clay, mostly without any painted decoration. Some of the vases are of good form, owing to the influence of Greek taste (see fig. 7) ; others are coarsely decorated with rude painting in blue, green, red, yellow, and brown, either in simple bands or with lotus and other flower-patterns (see fig. 8). Both the body of the vases and the colours are usually quite devoid of any gloss. The duller colours are various earths, ochre, and white chalk, while the bright blues and greens are produced by mixing powdered enamel of the required colour with ligth-coloured clay, the depth of the tint depending on the proportion of the clay or chalk.

Certain very gaudy and ugly pots were made to imitate granite and steatite ves-sels (see fig. 8). They are of brown clay, rudely dabbed and speckled with brown, red, yellow, and grey colours to represent the markings of the stone; others are yellow, with grey streaks—imitations of marble; most have a painted white tablet, on which are hieroglyphs in black. The pigments are very shiny in texture, and appear to be unfired. Among the most deli-cate and carefully made kinds of Egyptian pottery are the round flat flasks shaped rather like the mediaeval "pilgrim-bottle" (see fig. 9). They are sometimes made of blue paste, fine clay coloured with oxide of copper, and are delicately enriched with impressed ornaments, stamped from a mould, in low relief or slightly incised. The ornament is often designed like a gold necklace hung round the bottle ; others have tablets with inscriptions. The surface is biscuit; and the flasks range in colour from light turquoise to deep ultramarine, the colour not being saperficial but of equal strength all through the paste. Small vases of other forms, made of this same material, also occur, but they are rare.

Literature.—Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians (ed. Birch, 1878) ; Birch, Ancient Pottery, 1873. A large number of works on ancient Egypt have some aecount of the pottery, but none are specially devoted to the subject. The most valuable contribution to the chronological arrangement of Egyptian pottery is contained in an article by Flinders Petrie, published in the Archaeological Journal for 1883, vol. xl. p. 269. See also Pierret, Dictionnaire d’Archéologie Égyptienne, 1875 ; De Rougé, Études Égyptologiqucs, 1880 ; and Mariette, Monuments du Musée . . . á Baulaq, 1864.


But little remains to us of the pottery of the primitive Accadian races of Babylonia and Assyria. It was all extremely simple and undecorated, partly hand-made and partly wheel-made, mostly graceful and natural in form, owing its beauty chiefly to the simple elegance of its shape and the fine material of which it was made,—the close-grained light yellow and brown clays in which the country between the Tigris and the Euphrates is so rich. The great city of Babylon—"figulis munitam urbem," as Juvenal (x. 171) calls it—was essentially a brick city, and depended for its magnificence to a great extent on such decoration as the potter could supply. Herodotus and Ctesias describe its lofty circuits of brick walls, the two inner walls lined with bricks enamelled in various colours, with figure-subjects, scenes of war and hunting (see BABYLON). The technical methods and enamel pigments used in Assyria and Babylonia were for the most part the same as those used in Egypt ; but the Assyrian potters understood the use of oxide of lead as a flux to mix both with glazes and enaniels,—an admixture which, though it to some extent injures the durability of the vitreous surface, enables it to be applied with greater ease, and to less silicious clays, without fear of its cracking off or blistering in the kiln.

The ruined palaces of Babylon and Nineveh have supplied great quantities of bricks painted in various colours, some as early as the 12th century B.C. The colours applied are of two distinct classes,—(1) thoroughly vitrified enamels, often coarse and bubbly in texture, and applied in considerable body, which are mostly brilliant though harmonious in tint, with a hard vitreous surface ; (2) earth colours, chiefly ochres in various shades of quiet yellows and browns, owing their colours to different iron oxides and a pure white made of lime. The earth colours are very thinly applied, and have no surface gloss. Paintings executed in this manner were neither so hard nor so durable as those in the vitrified enamels, and were probably used mainly for panels of ceilings and the upper parts of walls, which were out of the reach of ordinary wear or injury. In a few paintings both methods are combined. The bricks themselves are of light brown or yellowish clay, with which a considerable quantity of straw was mixed. This was burned out in the firing, and. so cavities were left, making the bricks light and porous. Many of the enamelled bricks are moulded in relief, with simple patterns of leaves, interlacing bands, waves, and the like, and were used to form cornices and running bands above and below the flat friezes or dados painted with human figures. The reliefs are picked out in colours with enamel, white, yellow, deep orange, soft red, brown, green, and blue, the enamel being sometimes nearly one-eighth of an inch thick. A common size for the bricks is 12 to 14 inches long by 6 to 7 wide, and about 4 inches thick. Sometimes two or three courses go to make a single moulded band. The British Museum and the Louvre possess the best specimens of these enamelled architectural features. The finest examples of pictured bricks were found in the great palace at Nimrúd; they appear, judging from the imperfect fragments that remain, to illustrate a victorious expedition by the Assyrians against a foreign nation. The paintings represent long lines of captives, and processions of the conquering Assyrians on foot, on horseback, and in chariots. They are executed on grounds of different colours—dull green, yellow, and blue—and show a strong feeling for harmony of colour and great skill in decorative arrangement ; the figures are about 9 inches high. Some complete paintings were executed on one slab or panel. A fine one, about 9 inches by 12, also found at Nimrúd, and now in the British Museum, has a picture of the Assyrian king under a fringed canopy giving audience to an officer. The king is followed by an attendant eunuch.

In addition to figure-subjects and ornaments, large wall--surfaces were covered with cuneiform inscriptions, having letters about 1 1/2 inches high painted in white and yellow on blue or green grounds; these are executed on large slabs of coarse brown clay, to which a smooth surface, fit for painting, has been given by a thin coating or slip of fine-ground yellowish clay. Large slabs with pendants for ceilings, painted in the same way with very graceful patterns, have been found, all in simple earth colours. Another even more magnificent application of the potter’s art to wall-decoration was by the use of coloured enamel pastes, like those described under the pottery of Egypt. These are reliefs modelled by hand, or pressed into clay moulds and then touched up by a modelling tool. The smaller ones, with delicately-executed figures in low relief, are all in paste of one colour—blue—with sufficient enamel added to the clay to give it a brilliant tint, but not sufficient for complete vitrification. Other fragments exist of life-size or even colossal figures, both in the round and in high relief, worked in pastes of many colours in a kind of mosaic fashion, extremely brilliant and striking in effect.

The most remarkable application of pottery in Assyria and Babylonia was its use for literary records. Tablets, cylinders, and polygonal prisms were impressed with cuneiform characters in the moist clay, and then baked, thus forming the most imperishable of all kinds of MSS. (cp. BABYLONIA, vol. iii, p. 191). The large inscribed cylinders and prisms were made hollow, and turned on the potter’s wheel. The prisms were first moulded in a circular shape, the sides being afterwards made flat by slicing. All are circular inside, and bear distinct ring-like marks, showing the movement of the wheel as they were scooped out by the potter’s thumb.

The vases and domestic vessels of Assyria may be divided into four classes,—(1) plain biscuit clay, undecorated; (2) biscuit clay with painted decorations; (3) fine clay stamped with minute reliefs; (4) clay glazed or enamelled.

(1) By far the greater proportion of the pottery belongs to the first class. It is frequently graceful in shape, is well made and baked, and is of a fine close clay, generally light in colour. Fig. 10 shows some of the commonest forms. Some specimens have cuneiform inscriptions incised with a pointed tool in the same way as the cylinder letters. The coarser clays are usually covered with a fine whitish slip, and a rather rare variety of the pottery is made throughout of a close-grained almost white clay. One sort of pottery, of which very few specimens have been found, has simple patterns incised on the grey body of the vessel ; these patterns were then made conspicuous by being filled in with white clay, a method of inlay like that used in Egypt. (2) Very few examples of the second class are known. Some vases of brown clay, covered with white slip, have rude paintings of human figures, bowmen and other soldiers, executed in brown outline, with rapid and skilful touch. Others have cuneiform inscriptions and geometrical floral patterns painted in silica and lime-white with yellow and brown ochres. They appear to belong to the 9th century B.C. Both the, clay body and the earth pigments are quite free from any vitreous gloss in all this class of ware. A few fragments have been found of a coarse brown pottery, decorated with simple patterns in gold leaf, applied after the ware was fired. (3) A very fine sort of Assyrian pottery, of which examples exist dating from the 10th to the 8th century B.C., is made of a close-grained ivory-white clay, or else a hard greyish black clay ; the surface is biscuit, and is ornamented with bands of human figures in relief,— soldiers, captives, royal personages, and others, with representations of cities, all most minutely executed, the figures scarcely an inch high. Other bands have cuneiform inscriptions, also in deli-cate relief. The bands appear to have been formed by rolling a cylinder die or mould over the surface of the clay while soft and moist. The few specimens of this pottery that have been found are mostly in the form of cylindrical drinking-cups. This method of decoration is one largely used in the earliest variety of Etruscan pottery. (4) Glazed and enamelled pottery (see fig. 11) is more abundant ; it consists chiefly of small articles of fine clay, bottles, two-handled jugs, miniature amphoraee, and pilgrim-flasks, very carefully made, and apparently articles of luxury. Some are of white clay, covered with a colourless glaze of silicate of soda, rendered more fusible by the addition of oxide of lead. Partly owing to this addition the glaze is generally in a very decom-posed state, often presenting the most brilliant iridescent colours. Other examples are coated in a similar way, except that the trans-parent glaze is tinted a brilliant blue or green with oxides of copper, very like the blue glaze so much used in Egypt, but usually less hard and bright in colour. A few small specimens have been discovered coated with a white tin enamel. Both the glazed and the enamelled pottery is undecorated by any painting.

At Warka (the Chaldaean Erech) a large number of very curious clay coffins were found in cave-tombs stacked closely one upon another. They are made of coarse clay, and bear outside patterns rudely stamped in blunt relief ; the whole is covered with a plumbo-silicious green glaze. They are about 7 feet long and very peculiar in form; the body was introduced through an oval opening at the head, over which a similarly glazed clay lid fitted closely. These coffins are probably not earlier than the Sasanian period. Clay coffins of much greater antiquity have been found in Babylonia, but they are of plain biscuit clay.

Literature.—Layard, various works on Nineveh and Babylon; Rich, Babylon and Persepolis; Loftus, Chaldaea and Susiana, 1857 ; Oppert, Expidition Scientifique en Mésopotamie; Lepsius, Denk-mäler, part ii. p. 163; Botta, Monument de Ninive, 1847-50; Place, Ninive et l’Assyrie, 1866-69.


The discoveries of recent years have opened out a new field in the history of the origin and growth of Hellenic art, especially as relating to pottery. Excavations in Cyprus, Rhodes, Thera (Santorin), the plains of Troy, Mycenae, Attica, and the coasts of southern Italy have revealed the existence of an abundant class of pottery of great antiquity, a large part of which, in its forms and decora-tion, appears to have been due, directly or indirectly, to the Phoenicians. The designs are of a curiously compler character. Purely Assyrian motives, such as the sacred tree with its guardian "cherubs," are mingled with figures and ornaments peculiar to Egypt; other characteristics which modify and blend these two styles seem due to the Phoenicians themselves ; while, lastly, various local influences are shown in the representations of such plants and animals as were commonest in the special place where the pottery happened to be made. Possibly some of the designs, such as the sacred tree of Assyria, might be traced farther back still, to the distant Asiatic home of the Indo-European races; but any derivation of this kind would, in our present state of knowledge, be purely conjectural.

The islands of Thera, Rhodes, and Cyprus, which were colonized by the Phoenicians at a very early period (see PHOENICIA, vol. xviii. p. 804 sq.), have supplied large quantities of archaic pottery, ornamented with characteristically Phoenician patterns and figures. The equally rich finds of pottery from Mycenae and the Troad, though not free from Phoenician influence, have mostly a more native style of decoration. Though in some few cases the finding of Egyptian objects with dated hieroglyphs suggests a probable age for the pottery they were found with, yet in the main it is impossible to give even an approximate date to this large class of archaic pottery. Its production evidently extended over many centuries, and little or no help towards a chronological classification is given by any clearly-defined stages of artistic development. Some of the earlier specimens may possibly be as old as the 18th century B.C. (scarabs of Amenhotep III. were found with pottery in Rhodes), while later ones, not very different in style, were probably made as late as the 8th century.1

Forms and Materials of Archaic Pottery.—There is a special charm about this early pottery. Graceful as the Greek vases of the best period of art are, there is something rigid and slightly mechanical in their highly-finished beauty, their polished surface, and their shape, accurately produced after some fixed model, from which but little deviation was permitted. Endless varieties of form occur in archaic pottery, changing with the mood and individuality of each potter ; full of spirit and life, in their easy grace and the multiplicity of their flowing lines, these simple clay vessels give one—more perhaps than any other works of art—that keen aesthetic pleasure which consists in a retrospective sympathy with the joy that the artist took in his own handiwork. Extreme fertility of invention, as well as the utmost freedom of touch in the manipulation of the revolving mass of clay, are its chief characteristics. Fig. 12 gives some of the many forms. It is usually thin, light, and well baked, formed either of pate buff, whitish, or straw-coloured clay ; or, if a darker clay is used, the surface is generally covered with a fine white slip composed of silica, lime, and a little alumina, This forms a ground for the painting, which is executed in ochre earths, browns, and reds of different shades, the colours of which are due to oxides of iron. Most of the pottery is biscuit, clay ground and painted ornament being alike free from any gloss; but in some cases silica and an alkali (probably carbonate of soda) have been added to the ochre pigment, which has thus become vitrified in the kiln and acquired a glossy surface. This does not occur among the earlier specimens.

Enamelled Pottery.—In some of the tombs in Aegina and Rhodes a quantity of small vases, statuettes, and other objects have been found, executed under Egyptian influence, with decoration of various coloured enamels. The colours used and the methods of manipulation resemble the enamel work of Egypt so closely as to need no special description. Some fine pilgrim-flasks of blue and green have blundered copies of hieroglyphs and representations of Egyptian deities incised in the moist clay. Loss purely Egyptian in style are certain small vases (see fig. 13), coarsely ornamented with bands and chevrons in various enamels—white, blue, green, purple-brown, and yellow. The Louvre and the British Museum have the best specimens of these. Small vases, exactly similar in design and execution to those from Aegina and Rhodes, have been found in the tombs of Vulci and other places in Etruria, probably brought there by Phoenician traders, to whose intercourse with Egypt and knowledge of the Egyptian designs and mechanical processes the existence of the enamelled pottery of Rhodes is probably due. Other specimens have been found in the recently discovered Etruscan necropolis on the Esquiline in Rome.2 One curious variety of early pottery is of a fine glossy red like the later Samian ware. Its smooth surface of rich red is due to the application of a thin finely-ground mixture of silica, soda, and some alumina, forming a vitreous enamel to which the opaque red colour was given by a large proportion of oxide of iron (see fig. 14). Some of this red pottery is of extreme antiquity; it is either smooth and undecorated, or has rudely-incised hatchings and zig-zags, scratched clown to the clay body of the vessel through the red enamel. Another variety of very early pottery from Mycenae and the Troad is of a hard black clay, with glossy surface (see fig. 15).

Painted Ornament on Archaic Vases.—This may be divided roughly into four classes. (1) Hatching, concentric circles, chevrons, and other simple combinations of lines, arranged frequently in designs obviously suggested by matting or textile fabrics, and also various arrangements of spirals, apparently taken from patterns used in metal-work. Some of the designs of this class seem

FOOTNOTE (page 606)

(1) See Schliemann, Mycenae, (1877), Troy (1875), and Ilios (1880); Cesnola, Cyprus, 1877 ; Dumont, Les Céramiques de la Gréce, 1881; Salzamann, Nécropole de Camiros, 1874-75.

(2) See Ann. Inst., 1882, p. 2.

common to all races of men in an elementary stage of progress, and occur on the earliest known pottery, that of the Neolithic age (see fig. 16). (2) Representations of plants (often seaweeds) and marine animals, such as cuttle-fishes, medusae, and star-fishes, or occasionally aquatic birds. This class of ornament appears to be more native in character—derived, that is, from various objects with which the potter was fainiliar—and not to have been a Phoenician import (see fig. 17). (3) Conventional ornament, a decorative arrangement in bands or scrolls of certain plants, such as the lotus or papyrus and the palm-tree. This class of ornament is distinctly Phoenician, and shows a predominance, sometimes of Assyrian, sometimes of Egyptian influence (see fig. 18). (4) Very rude and badly-drawn figures of men and animals. They are mostly purely decorative and meaningless, are often merely drawn in outline, and have little or no help from incised lines, which became so important in the next stage of the development of pottery. Some of the figures are strongly Assyrian in character, while others of the rudest execution seem to be native.

It appears at first sight as if there was a distinct chronological order of development in these four classes of ornament—growing front simple line-patterns to the copying of easily represented natural objects, then to the invention of regular geometrical floral patterns, and lastly arriving at the rude depiction of human figures. Various points, however, combine to contradict such a theory of arrangement, such as the combinations in which these vessels have been found, the manner in which the various classes of ornament are mingled on the same vase, and lastly the fact that some elaborate and highly-finished vases, obviously of later date, are decorated solely with the straight-line and hatched patterns of the first of the four classes of ornament. Again, the ornament of the second class, which appears to be native and local, can hardly be so altogether. Pottery found at places so far distant as Rhodes and Mycenae has in some cases exactly similar painting of this sort, showing that a common artistic influence was at work in both places. The whole subject is a very difficult one, and little that is really definite can be asserted about it with safety—at least as yet.

Fig. 19 gives two vases of great interest. One shows the common decoration with wheel-applied circles, and also the Assyrian altar-like object between two beasts ; the other, from Cyprus, has the Assyrian sacred tree, with similar guardian animals. One of the most striking characteristics of archaic pottery of all classes, and especially of the earliest, is the great use made of the potter’s wheel in applying the painted ornaments. Very many of the vessels are decorated with a number of encircling bands or lines, or on their sides with a number of concentric circles. These were easily applied, and very true circles were obtained by setting the pot (after it was dried in the sun) for a second time on the wheel, in the required position, either on its side or upright as it was originally turned. A brush held against the revolving vessel marked out the bands or circles. A very interesting votive tablet from Corinth (now in the Louvre), probably 700-600 B.C., shows a potter at work in his shop, applying painted bands in this way. He sets the wheel in motion with one hand, while with the other be holds the brush against the revolving pot. The wheel here shown (see fig. 20) is one of the earliest form, without the lower foot-turned disk.1 The smaller circles were struck out with compasses, the central point of which has usually left a deep mark. The patterns used on the first class of pottery consist mostly of straight lines, hatched and crossed, arranged in squares, chevrons, triangles, and other simple figures, combined with concentric circles or, more rarely, wavy bands, the whole arranged frequently in very complicated and effective patterns. The second class has frequently varieties of seaweed and many marine creatures, all treated very simply, but drawn with great skill and appreciation of the characteristics of each object and its decorative capabilities. The third class—that of geometrical floral patterns—has but little variety. Some of the lotus patterns are almost identical with those used in Egypt and Assyria, and continued in use for vase decoration down to the most flourishing period of Greek art, though latterly in a stiff and rather lifeless form. The fourth class—that of figure-paintings—is of great interest ; the earlier patterns are merely drawn in outline. Fig. 21 shows an oenochoe from Cyprus, now in the British Museum, of rather coarse red clay with yellow slip, on which is pencilled in outline a one-horse chariot driven at full speed by a slave ; behind him stands a bowman shooting an arrow ; the whole is strikingly Assyrian in style. Another oenochoe, found in Attica, of more primitive style, has a central band

FOOTNOTE (page 607)

1 The writer of the article in Ann. Inst. (1882) on this painting has missed the chief point of interest, which is that the potter is using his wheel, not to mould the vase, but to apply the bands of colour round it.

covered with a number of warriors with round shields, all alike, most rudely executed ; almost exactly similar figure-paintings occur on some of the Mycenae pottery, and also on a large amphora from Cyprus (now in the British Museum) which has many bands, on which are painted in red ochre lines of men with crested heads (looking like North-American Indians) riding long weasel-shaped horses. Other bands on the same vase have centaurs, foot-soldiers, and various beasts, the latter, especially some stags, rather better drawn. They are painted in coarse dabs, and, except for a few of the eyes, have no incised lines. Smaller ornaments, such as the svas-tica _ and simple forms of rosettes, are often used to decorate the backgrounds and fill up spaces, but not to so great an extent as in the succeeding class of pottery.

Among the earlier pottery from Mycenae and the Troad are several very strange vases in coarse clay rudely modelled to indicate a human form. Some have the upper part formed like a head, very like the Egyptian Canopic vases. A great number of "pithi" (GREEK), enormous vases shaped something like amphorae, have been discovered in Rhodes, the Troad, and other places, some as much as 7 feet high. Such vessels are often decorated with patterns in relief, chiefly combinations of spirals and the like, some closely resembling the designs on the sculptured architrave from the "Treasury of Atreus" at Mycenae.

Vases with Bands or Friezes of Animals on Grounds sprinkled with Flowers.—This is a very large and important and class and very numerous specimens have been found widely scattered over the shores of the Mediterranean (see fig. 22). The production of vases of this style appears to have lasted for many centuries; the earlier ones are rudely executed in dull ochre colours on biscuit clay, like most archaic pottery, while the later ones have paintings in brilliant black enamel on a ground of red clay, thinly covered with a true vitreous glaze. This class of vase painting, though mostly the work of Greek potters, is dis-tinctly Oriental in character, probably Assyro-Phoenician. It is of extreme decorative richness : the surfaces of the vases are well covered, and the designs, though simply treated, are very effective, in many ways far more success-ful as works of decorative art than the elaborate and exquisitely drawn figure-pictures on later Greek vases. The ground is thickly covered with small decorative patterns ; fig. 23 shows those used on more archaic vases. The animals that occur most fre-quently on the bands are lions, leopards, bulls, goats, deer, with various birds, such as cocks and swans, and also griflins, sphinxes, and sirens. A favourite motive of design is the sacred tree or a sort of column, each with a guardian beast at the sides. This is one of the most interesting of all designs in the history of ornament; it dates from an extremely early period, was handed in ancient Chaldaean art, and was handed on by the Sasanians to the Moslem conquerors of Persia; it survived, though al-tered and after its meaning was long forgotten, till even the 15th century in the textile fabrics worked in Italy after Oriental designs. The column between the beasts occurs on the Lion Gate of Mycenae. In the later art of the Persians a fire-altar takes the place of the column.

Before passing on to consider the vari-ous classes of distinctly Hellenic pottery it will be convenient to give a list of the technical methods employed in all classes of pottery found in Hellenic sites, and also some account of the inscriptions and various forms of letters which are found on Greek vases.

Technical Methods and Inscriptions—Archaic and Greek Vases.

1. Prehistoric Pottery from Mycenae, the Troad, and other Hellenic Sites.—Materials: yellow, red, or black clays; composition, silicate of alumina, with free silica and lime, coloured by differents oxides of iron; slip, made of similar clays ground to a smooth paste. Methods of treatment: (a) plain biscuit clay; (b) clay covered with fine slip ; (c) ornament of incised patterns, scratched through the slip upon the body of the pot, and sometimes filled in with whiter slip to make a conspicuous pattern ; (d) pottery of hard fine, clay, made glossy by a mechanical polish. Most if not all of this pottery was made without the wheel ; but some was so skilfully modelled as to make it difficult to distinguish between hand-made and wheel-made vessels.

2. Phoenician and other Archaic Pottery.—This and all succeeding classes are wheel-made. Materials: clays and slip as class 1 ; a quite white slip was also used, made of a natural sort of pipeclay, or in some cases of a mixture of lime and silica with a little clay to bind it together. Pigments : earth-colours, made of brown and red ochres, occasionally mixed with an additional quantity of oxide of iron and free silica. Methods: the white or yellow slip was usually applied while the vase was revolving on the wheel, either with a brush or by the potter dipping his hands into a bowl of fluid slip just before finishing the final modelling or throwing of the vase ; in some cases it has been applied by dipping the pot into the slip. The method of applying the painted bands is shown above in fig. 20. As a rule these vases were not fired at a sufficient heat to give them a vitreous gloss, though in some cases the heat has been enough to partly vitrify those of the ochre colours which contained a proportion of free silica and alkali.

3. Vases with Black Figures and Incised Lines.—Materials: (a) clay, silica 56 per cent., alumina 19, red oxide of iron 16, lime 7 1/2, magnesia 1 1/2 per cent.,—the average of many analyses; (b) slip, the same clay finely ground, and sometimes tinged a deeper red with additional red oxide of iron,—the white slip is like that in class 2 ; (c) glaze, of almost imperceptible thickness, a silicate of soda ; (d) black pigment,—a true vitreous enamel, which owes its deep black to the magnetic oxide of iron (composition—soda 17, silica 46, alumina 12, black peroxide of iron 17, lime 6 per cent.) ; (e) chocolate-red pigment, an ochre red sometimes mixed with finely--ground fragments of red pottery ; (f) white pigment, like the white slip of class 2,—various analyses, silica 54 to 62, alumina 34 to 43, lime 1/2 to 3 1/2 per cent. Methods: the vase was first turned on the wheel, and, in order to give the pot a surface of deeper red, the slip was applied by a brush or by the hands of the potter while it was still revolving. The outline of the design was next roughly siketched, either with a point or in light-red ochre with a brush. After the vase had dried sufficiently in the sun so as to become firm, it was again put on the wheel, and the glaze, finely powdered and mixed with water, was applied to it with a brush as it revolved. The vase then appears, at least in some cases, to have been for the first time fired in the kiln in order to get a smooth almost non--absorbent surface for the use of the painter. In other cases the materials of the red slip and the silicate glaze were mixed, and the two applied together, as was done in the case of the Roman Samian ware. The painter next set to work and put on the black enamel figures and ornaments with a brush. It a part of the vase round whole circumference was to be black, such as the foot and neck, the vase was again set on the wheel and the black enamel put on as it revolved. This repeated use of the wheel for the application of slip, glaze, and black enamel was in order to secure an even coating with uniform grain, far more difficult to get with the unaided brush. The grain thus produced can usually be distinctly traced in each of the three coatings. The firing of the black enamel must have been done with great care and skill, as a very slight chemical change in the black oxide of iron converts it into the red oxide. Thus the same stroke of a brush is often (in the earlier vases of this class) half black and half vermilion-red, or one side of a vase is red and the other black, according as it has been played upon by oxidizing or deoxidizing products of combustion in the kiln. In the finest vases the black enamel is of great beauty, with wonderful rich softness of texture, which no modern skill has been able to approach. The tombs of Nola, Capua, and other places in Magna Graecia have supplied the most technically perfect vases, both for the fineness of their clay and the brilliance of their black enamel. After the firing of the enamel the details were drawn in by incised lines, cutting through the enamel down to the clay body of the vase. The clear and slightly-chipped edges of the lines show that they were done after firing, when the black enamel was in a hard vitreous state. This must have been done with some very sharp and hard point, probably a natural crystal of diamond or corundum, such as was used for engraving gems ; the incised details on some vases are of almost microscopic minuteness.1 The "non-vitreous" colours, red and white, were sometimes put on before, sometimes after the incised lines. They were fixed in their place by a slight firing, not enough to vitrify them or to soften the edges of the incised lines in the enamel. Both these changes have been shown to take place under a not very violent heat, by experiments made by the present writer on fragments of such vases. The white was used to depict the flesh of females and of some of the gods, such as Eros, or for the bodies of horses and the hair of old men. Chocolate-red was mostly used for ornamental touches on dress, armour, harness, and the like. Both are used in painting the heraldic beasts or ornaments which so often occur on the round shields of Greek warriors. Both the white and red are applied over the black. Thus the female figures are first completely painted in black, and the white afterwards applied over the face, hands, or other nude parts.2

4. Vases with Red Figures.—The materials employed and the first stages in the manufacture of this class are the same as those of class 3 ; but, instead of the figures being painted in black, the ground is covered with black enamel, and the figures left, showing the glazed red slip which covers the whole vase. This method produced a great artistic advance in the beauty of the figures, the details and inner lines of which could be executed with freedom and ease by brush-marked lines instead of by the laborious process of cutting incised lines through the very hard black enamel. The outline of the figures was drawn, with wonderful precision and rapidity, with a brush fully charged with fluid enamel, boldly applied so as to make a broad line or band about one-eighth of an inch wide all round each figure, one edge of the band giving the boundary of the required form. Details and inner markings were then added with a fine-pointed brush capable of making the thinnest and most delicate strokes. On many of the finest vases the contourlines of muscles and other markings intended to be less salient were painted in pale brown instead of black. Last of all, the main part of the ground between the black outline bands was filled in. The greater thickness of the enamel, where it was more concentrated in the bands, is generally visible; the enamel used for filling in was thinner because it spread over a larger space as it flowed from the brush. In some cases a face or other part has had a thin black outline before the wider band was put on ; and then three distinct thicknesses of enamel can be seen, the thin outline standing out perceptibly more than the rest. It is evident that the fluid black enamel was applied in a somewhat thick viscid state, and thus a slight degree of relief was often produced, enabling black lines to show over the black ground, as is the case sometimes with the strings of lyres. This slight relief often gives additional effect to the treatment of curly hair, represented by a series of dots or globules, as in the transitional amphora described below (p. 612). This method recalls the free use of the drill in the representation of hair on early engraved gems. Touches of white and red were occasionally used, as in the preceding class of vases, but to a much more limited extent. Some of the finest black and red vases, especially specimens from Nola, Vulci, and Capua, have enrichments in gold applied in relief.

5. Polychromatic Vases.—Materials: the same as in the preceding class with the addition of bright red, blue, green, and gold. The red used on some vases is an oxide, of iron ; but a very brilliant minium crimson also occurs, which appears to have been added after the flual firing, and is not therefore, properly speaking, a "ceramic" pigment. The blue and green are different oxides of copper, fused with silica and soda to make a bright vitreous enamel, which was then finely powdered and mixed with a proportion of white pigment (silica and lime) according to the strength of the tint required. This powdered enamel pigment is the "smalto" of mediaeval Italian painters. The gold was applied in leaf, not on the flat surface of the vase, but on a ground modelled in slight relief with semi-fluid slip of ordinary fine red clay, thus very much enhancing the effect produced by the gold leaf. Necklaces, bracelets, and other gold ornaments are always modelled in perceptible relief, producing a rich effect-which no merely flat application of gold could give. Polychromatic vases may be divided into four main classes. (a)Vases in which the colours are used as additional decoration to the ordinary red figures, e.g., the celebrated amphora from Camirus (Rhodes), with the scene of Pelcus winning Thetis as his bride (see Plate V.). (b) Vases painted in brown outline, on a fine white slip, with the addition of red and yellow ochre colours, and occasionally a little gold, e.g., the cylix in the British Museum with Aphrodite seated on a flying swan (see Plate V.) ; this is a rare and usually very beautiful variety, and is more fully described below (p. 613). (c) Attic funeral lecythi, which have the neck and foot in brilliant black (wheel-applied) enamel and the main body of the vase covered with a non-vitreous white slip. The design was sketched in rough outline and the red pigment put on with a small brush over the white ground. The drawing is generally careless and rapid, but often shows great skill and beauty of touch. The colours, generally red, blue, or green, were then thickly and often clumsily applied over parts of the red outline drawing, mostly over the draperies. These vases were not meant to be handled, as tbeir colours rub off very easily : they were simply intended for sepulchral purposes, either to hang on the stele or within the tomb. (d) Vases, especially from Magna Graecia, such as rhytons, small aenocboae, and others, moulded skilfully in a variety of fanciful shapes, heads of animals or deities, sphinxes, and other figures, either grotesque or beautiful. They are decorated partly with the usual red figures, and with the most brilliant black enamel, while other parts are painted in white and brilliant crimson with further enrichments in gold leaf. These bright colours seem to have been applied after the last firing, and not to be true ceramic colours.

6. Black Vases of Metal-like Designs.—These vases often have the finest sort of black enamel, especially the large amphorae from Capua and other places in Magna Graecia, covered all over with fluting or gadroons. Some have wreaths of vine, olive, and other plants, or imitations of gold necklaces modelled in slip, slightly in relief, and afterwards covered with gold leaf. A number of "phialae omphalae" (saucer-shaped vessels), of about 200 B.C, were made by being pressed into a mould, and were thus stamped with figures in relief, such as processions of deities driving chariots. Some of these, made in Magna Graecia after its conquest by the Romans, have Latin inscriptions. One made at Cales is inscribed with the potter’s name C. CANOLEIOS. L. F. FECIT. CALENOS (see Ann. Inst., 1883, p. 66). Small asci were decorated with higbly-finisbed figure-subjects, stamped on emblemata or tablets of clay, which were embedded in the vase while it was soft. Such elaborate and metal-like pieces of pottery are entirely covered with black enamel. They are often of great beauty, both in the composition of the relief figures and in their delicate execution. Vases of this class have been found entirely covered with gold or silver leaf, copies of metal plate.3

7. Vases, such as large asci, many from Magna Graecia, made of simple yellowish biscuit clay, and modelled into shapes of female heads, or covered with a number of statuettes of female figures. They are generally painted simply in distemper in "non-ceramic" colours ; but they fall rather under the head of TERRA-COTTA (q.v.). Some are of very great beauty, and are covered with statuettes very like those found at Tanagra.

8. Greek Vases of Debased Style, last period.—These have the usual red figures on a black enamel ground, of the same materials, and applied in the same way as on the earlier vases, except that the black enamel is much thinner and very inferior in quality, frequently having a hard metallic gloss instead of the soft richness of the earlier vases. A great part of the figures and ornaments is executed in white, red, brown, and yellow pigments, with shading and gradations of colour, used to produce an effect of relief, which is unsuited to vase-painting, and, especially in the later examples, is executed with extreme rudeness an clumsiness of drawing. Vase-painting became degraded in style at a period when the other arts of Greece showed but little signs of decadence, and ceased altogether to be practised nearly a century before the Christian era. No painted vases were found in the buried cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae ; and Suetonius (Julius Caesar, c. 81) mentions the eagerness with which certain Greek vases found in tombs near

FOOTNOTES (page 609)

(1) A very remarkable early vase, in the collection of countess Dzialinska in Paris, is decorated with incised lines only, the whole being covered with the black enamel.

(2) Unfortunately many Greek vases have been much injured while in the hands of dealers by the restoration of the white and red pigments. Vases which have been thus treated should be washed carefully with spirits of wine which removes the modern touches without injury to the ancient pigments.

(3) See Otto Jahn, Vasen mil Goldschmuck, Leipsie, 1865.

Capua were sought for. The floral ornaments on these later vases are very elaborate and realistic compared with those of the earlier period. Bands of graceful scroll-work with growing foliage are much used, often, in spite of their attempted relief, very beautiful and much superior to the figure-subjects which accompany them. Some strikingly resemble in style the painted friezes on Pompeian walls, and have lost all purely ceramic character.

Two abnormal and comparatively rare methods of vase-painting must be mentioned. One occurs on a number of Corinthian vases mostly now in the Louvre, pseudo-archaic in style, but apparently of the 5th century B.C. Such were first covered with white slip, which was in turn completely covered over with black enamel. The design was then made by the awkward process of cutting away the black in parts so as to leave black figures on a white ground-—a kind of "sgraffiato." Another strange method was practised in southern Italy during the extreme decadence of vase-painting. The whole surface was covered with black enamel, and the figures were afterwards painted in red over the black so as to imitate the ordinary Greek vases with red figures and a black enamel painted round them. Most specimens are mere feeble imitations of the works of an earlier period ; but a cylix in the British Museum is painted in this style with a graceful seated figure of Adonis or Meleager,—a very remarkable work, executed in warm browns and yellows, giving the effect of flesh, and shaded and touched with high lights in a thoroughly pictorial manner, which, though on a miniature scale, recalls the best wall-paintings of Pompeii or Rome.

Inscriptions on Vases.—Inscriptions are very numerous during the middle period of Greek art, while on the most archaic vases and those of the decadence they are mostly absent. They are of great interest in the history of Greek palaeography, but are not always a safe guide as to the dates of vases, because archaic forms of letters were often used by vase-painters long after other forms of letters had come into general use. Vase-inscriptions may be divided roughly under two heads-Ionian and Dorian, the latter occurring mostly on the numerous vases from Corinth and her colonies. The accompanying table1 shows the usual forms of letters which differ from the New-Attic alphabet ; the latter is still in use, and has been but little changed since about 400 B.C., when the long vowels were introduced. Some of the early letters have no representative in the later Greek alphabet, e.g., the digamma F, the koppa _ and the aspirate _ or H.

One of the earliest vase-inscriptioDs known is that mentioned below (see fig. 24, p. 6 11) as occurring on a "pinax," or large fiat platter, with archaic painting in brown, found at Camirus in Rhodes and now in the British Museum. Each figure has its name thus—


for MENE_A_, EKTOP (retrograde), and EY_OPBO_. This curious inscription has the Ionian form of E, the Dorian M (san) for _, and a common archaic form of _ for _,, a very strange and exceptional combination of characters. The Burgon Panathenaic amphora (see fig. 25) has a very curious Old-Attic inscription, written downwards—


For TON A_ENE_[E]N A__ON E[I]MI , "I am one of the prizes from Athens," the usual inscription on prize vases. Vase-inscriptions are usually painted, if on a red ground in black or brown, if on a black ground in red or white. Some are incised, scratched after the vase was fired ; but such occur less often. They are written both retrograde and from left to right, apparently with-out any fixed rule. Both methods frequently occur in the same inscription. A fine early Corinthian crater, found at Caere and now in the Louvre, with black figures representing Heracles feasting with Eurytius, has the names of the persons represented inscribed in the characteristic early Dorian manner—


for EYPYTIO_ FI_ITO_ FIO_A (Viola, a lady present at the feast), and HEPAK_E_. On the handle of the crater is scratched __, for Corinth, the place where it was made.2 Another Dorian inscription of great interest occurs on a votive clay tablet dedicated to Poseidon, about 4 by 2 1/2 inches, now in the Louvre. Poseidon is represented at full length, holding a trident and a wreath, in black with incised lines ; at each corner is a bole for fixing the tablet to the temple wall. It is inscribed—


for IIOTEI_AN…ON M’ANE_HKE," –on dedicated me to Poseidon." This curious tablet was found at Corinth ; the letters are very archaic in form, though the painting can hardly be earlier than the 6th century B.C.

The great majority of vases have inscriptions in Old-Attic characters, such as are shown in the two following examples. The subjects of the inscriptions may be divided.into five heads, though other miscellaneous ones also occur.

(1) On early vases rudely scratched trade-marks, or potters’ marks, indicating the number of vases in a special batch and their prices. (2) Potters’ and artists’ names. The majority have only one name, possibly that of the master-potter, e.g.,


for E_______ _&Mac185;_____. In other cases, mostly on the finest vases, the name of the painter occurs as well as that of the potter, e.g.,


for Má___ _______. Some artists, probably distinguisbed for their skill, painted the vases of several potters ; other painters’ names chiefly occur on the vase of One special potter. (3) Names of people, animals, and even things represented on the vases. A large proportion of the earlier vases have a name by the side of each figure, or at least by the side of the most important ones. Names of horses and dogs occasionally occur, and in a few instances even inanimate objects are designated by a name, e.g., the balance on the cylix of Arcesilaus in the Paris Bibliothèque and Zeus’s throne on an early amphora in the Louvre. (4) Speeches uttered by the vase figures, e.g., in a scene reresenting a game at ball one of the players says XPH_AN MOI TAN __[A]IPAN, "Throw me the ball." Other vases have words of compliment or greeting, such as XAIPE, "Hail!" or words relating to their contents, e.g., ____ OINO_, "The wine is sweet." (5) Names of owners, often with the adjective KA_O_, or KA_E (if a lady), possibly intended for gifts, like the majolica plates inscribed with a lady’s name fol-

FOOTNOTES (page 610)

(1) Those letters which have the same form in all three lists are omitted.

(2) See Mon. Inst., vol. vii.

lowed by the epithet "diva" or "bella." An amphora with a very curious inscription has recently been found at Orvieto, in early Attic characters—GREEK (retrograde)—meaning __’ _____ ___ __ _____, "Two obols, and you have me."1

A quite different species of inscriptions occurs on vases of the latest class. Artists’ and potters’ names cease to appear with the rapidly increasing decadence of the art. A black crater in the British Museum has a dedicatory inscription painted in white round the neck, _IO_ _______, "Zeus the Saviour." A fine black fluted amphora has the owner’s name, APICTAPXO APIC__NO_, in which the late C form of _, occurs. On a small black ascus in the British Museum is scratched rudely IIPOIIINE MH KAT_HI_, "Drink, do not set me down." And some plain black measures have their capacity incised on them, e.g., HEMIKOTV_ION, "Half a cotylion," on a cup-sHaped vessel from Corcyra. One of the earliest known instances of Greek cursive writing occurs on a covered pyxis divided into four compartments (in the British Museum). It appears to have been used to contain the ashes of a Roman called Sergius. Under the foot is rudely scratched—


"My beloved Sergius, farewell." The last word is blundered And on the inside of the lid is a similar incised inscription—


"It is the second interment." The pyxis is aplorently much older than the inscription, a supposition which is confirmed by the note as to its being a later burial.

One sort of inscription, used more largely by the Romans than the Greeks, was impressed from incuse stamps, a method chiefly used for large amphone and other vessels of plain biscuit clay, especially those made in Rhodes and Cnidus. These inscriptions, which date from the time of Alexander the Great down to the 1st century after Christ, usually give the name of an eponymous magistrate or chief priest, and have frequently in addition one of the thirteen months of the Doric calendar. Some of the stamps are circular, copied from current Rhodian coins, and have the legend round a front face of Helios, or the rose-blossom _____, which was the badge of the island. Other stamps are square or lozenge-shaped ; they are usually impressed on the neck or handle of jars.2

Having considered the technical methods employed in the manufacture of Greek vases and the various classes of inscriptions which occur upon them, we will now return to the styles of vase-paintings and the subjects which are most frequently represented.


Archaic Class—The manner in which the styles of ornament on early pottery merge almost insensibly one into another makes it difficult to arrange it in distinct classes, and it is not easy to say at what precise stage the term "Hellenic" can be given to the archaic vessels. The presence of Greek inscriptions makes, however, a convenient starting-point.

Probably the earliest known Greek ceramic inscription occurs on the Rhodian pinax mentioned above (see fig. 24). The painting on this, though rudely executed in brown and red ochres on a pale yellow slip-covered clay, the same in method as the earlier non-Hellenic paintings, shows a marked artistic advance by the fact that it represents a definite historical scene taken from the Iliad. No incised lines are used except for the feathers of the heraldic eagle on Hector’s shield. A large number of other pinaces were found at Camirus, of the same date, but without inscriptions and with purely decorative paintings, such as geometrical lotus-patterns, and spirited figures of bulls, sheep, and other animals, or sphinxes and gorgons’ heads. Some large clay coffins, also found at Camirus, and others at Clazomenae, belong to this class of pottery.3 One of those from Camirus is in the British Museum. The top is decorated with painting in red and brown ochre colours.

At the head is a bull between two lions, and below them two curious helmeted heads of warriors drawn in profile, both unfortunately much injured by restoration. Other parts are decorated with figures of beasts on a ground studded with rosettes and other small designs, in which some antiquaries see varieties of solar symbols ; but, whatever their original meaning may have been, they appear on this pottery to be used merely as decoration. Other vases of a very early period with figure-subjects and inscriptions, probably of the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., have been found at Corinth, such as the "Dodwell pyxis," now at Munich, on the lid of which is painted the scene of the Calydonian boar hunted by various heroes in the presence of Agamemnon; each figure has an inscribed name. At Corinth also curious votive tablets have recently been found, some inscribed, with painted figures either of the god or of the donor; one of these is shown in fig, 20. It is very early in date.

The "Burgon amphora," so called from its finder, now in the British Museum (see fig. 25), is a very interesting specimen of this early class; it is one of the prize amphorae which, filled with sacred olive oil, were given to the victors at the games held during the Panathenaic festival. It was found at Athens, filled with the ashes of its owner, and is no doubt the work of an Athenian potter. On one side is the usual fialire of Athene Promachos in black, except the goddess’s flesh, which is white, and the inscription and touches on the dress, which are in crimson. On the reverse side is the winner of the vase driving a biga, apparently in the act of winning the race which gained him the prize. On the neck of the vase is the owl sacred to Athene. The drawing of the figures is very rude, probably dating from the 6th Century B.C.

The "François crater," found at Chiusi, now in the Etruscan Museum in Florence, is another important example of this early class. It is signed as the work of the potter Ergotimus and the painter Clitias, and is painted with a long series of subjects, all relating to the life and death of Achilles. It has no less than 115 explanatory inscriptions.4 Of about the same date, 6th century B.C.,

FOOTNOTES (page 611)

(1) See Ann. Inst., 1882, p. 58.

(2) See Dumont, Inscr. Céram. de Grèce, Paris, 1872 ; and Corp. Inscr. Gr.

(3) Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1883.

(4) Bull. Inst., 1845, pp. 123, 120, and Ann. Inst., 1848, p. 382.

is the cylix of Arcesilaus found at Vulci, now in the Paris Bibliothèque. It is painted in black and red on a cream-white slip, and represents Arcesilaus, one of the Cyrenian kings of this name, superintending the weighing of a number of bags of the silphium plant. All the figures and even the scales have their names painted by their side. It is executed with great neatness and technical skill, but the drawing is stiff and awkward. The scene, which is represented with great dramatic vigour, appears to be on board a ship, judging from the complicated cordage overhead and the yard-arm from which the large balance is suspended.

It is at present impossible to fix with any certainty the dates of this early Hellenic pottery, as is also the case with the still older pottery of Rhodes and Mycenae, but the increase of our knowledge on the subject tends to give a much more remote period to its production than has been hitherto assigned to it by the majority of writers on the subject. The foregoing class of pottery forms a link, with various stages of development, from the glossless vases painted in dull ochre browns and reds to that large and important class of Greek pottery which has figures painted in glossy black enamel, on a red, slightly glazed, clay ground, or less frequently on a cream-white ground. The vases of this class, found in large quantities over a wide area in Greece, Italy, and Sicily, include paintings of the most different kinds, from the rudest almost shapeless daubs to the most carefully-executed pictures, drawn with great beauty of composition and firm accuracy of form, though always retaining sorne amount of archaic stiffness and conventionalism. Though the faces are nearly always represented in profile, the eyes are shown front-wise, a method of treatment which continued in use even on the earlier vases of the next period, those with red figures on a black ground. Fig. 26 shows the progressive treatment of the human eye by vase-painters, from the earliest introduction of figures down to the end of the 4th century B.C.

Many of the floral ornaments of this period still retain clear signs of their Oriental origin. The sacred tree of Assyria, in an elaborate and highly conventionalized form, very frequently occurs, or, worked into a running pattern, it forms a continuous band of decoration, out of which the Greek so-called "honeysuckle pattern" seems to have been developed. These vases have far greater variety and richness in their decorative patterns than those with the black ground, the natural result of the great ease and freedom of hand with which delicate floral designs could be touched in with the brush in black, while in the later manner the red patterns had to be laboriously left out by working the black ground all round them. Hence the stiffness and poverty of invention which are so remarkable in the decorative patterns on the vases of the "best period." Many of the black figures of men and animals are executed with extraordinary minuteness, owing largely to the engraved gem-like treatment with which the incised lines are applied, especially in the representation of the hair of men or animals, and also in the rich textile patterns with which the draperies are often covered. Some of the vases, judging from their general form and thin band-like handles, were evidently copied from metal vessels, as, for example, a number of small amphorae found in various places, executed in the workshop of Nicosthenes, a rather inartistic potter, who appears to have turned out a large number of vases with little or no variety in shape or ornament.

The later vases, with black figures, were produced simultaneously with the earlier ones decorated with red figures; and during this transitional period (about the middle of the 5th century B.C.) some vase-painters worked in both styles, both kinds of painting sometimes occurring even on the same vase. The British Museum possesses one of the finest specimens of these, a large amphora with nobly-designed paintings. On one side are two seated figures of Greek warriors, probably Ajax and Achilles, playing at a game like draughts. They are painted in black with chocolate-red touches, and minute details, such as the drapery over their armour and their wavy hair, executed in incised lines of extreme fineness and gem-like treatment. The other side of the vase has red figures on a Back ground, a most powerfully drawn group of Heracles strangling the Nemaean lion in the presence of Iolaus, and an archaic statue-like figure of Athene. As in the painting with black figures, some touches of red are used. The treatment of Heracles’s hair is peculiar and again recalls gem-engraver’s work, in which hair is represented by a series of drilled holes; in this painting the stiff curls are given by a number of round dots of the black enamel, applied in considerable body so as to stand out in relief. This treatment frequently occurs on the fine vases of this and later periods, and the same method is occasionally used in a very effective way to represent bunches of grapes and the like.

Vases with Black Ground and Red Figures.—After about the middle of the 5th century B.C. this method superseded that with the black figures, and to this class belong the finest vases of all. The drawing of the earlier specimens is strongly sculpturesque in style, sometimes recalling the noble though slightly archaic pediment figures from Aegina, while the vase-paintings of a few years later seem to belong to the Phidian school ; the forms are noble and massive, treated with great breadth and simplicity, and kept strictly to one plane; faces are nearly always drawn in profile, and all violent foreshortening of limbs is avoided. Some vase-painters of this period (c. 450-400) retain a slight touch of Oriental feeling in their drawing, as, for instance, the beautiful amphora by Euxitheus in the British Museum, which has single figures of Achilles and Briseis, one on each side (see fig. 27).

It should be remarked that the style of vase-paintings is generally rather archaic as compared with other branches of contemporary art, as was the case with their inscriptions, and a certain conventionalism of treatment, such as would not be found in sculpture, lingers till quite the end of the 5th century B.C. Fig, 28 shows a painting from the inside of a cylix, remarkable for the severe beauty and simple grace of its drawing and composition. The scene represents the moment when Peleus has won Thetis for his bride, and is leading her away in triumph, gently overcoming her modest reluctance; her shrinking and yet yielding attitude is drawn in the most refined and masterly manner possible.1

In the succeeding century both drawing and composition

FOOTNOTE (page 613)

1 The same design, though with inferior execution, is repeated on a cylix found at Corneto; see Mon. Inst., xi., table xx.

began to gain in softness and grace, while losing something of their old vigour. Vase-paintings become more pictorial and the compositions more elaborate and crowded; the British Museum has an amphora from Camirus (Rhodes), one of the most beautiful of this later class, elaborately decorated on one side with various coloured pigments and gold applied over the finished black and red figures. As in the earlier cylix of fig. 28 the scene represents the final triumph of Peleus in his pursuit of Thetis; in order to fill up the space some of the figures are placed, as it were, in the air, a method of composition peculiar to the later vase-paintings. Though not highly finished in details, such as the hands and feet, this picture is a perfect marvel of skilful touches rapidly applied, and of extreme beauty of form and general composition (see Plate V.). The funeral lecythi from tombs in the neighbourhood of Athens are a remarkable class of vases, c. 350-300 B.C. (see fig. 29). On these, over a white ground, are painted scenes representing mourners visiting sepulchral stelae with offerings in their hands. They are drawn carelessly, but with great skill, in red outline and then coarsely filled in with colours. Some of the seated females are designed with wonderful grace and pathos, the whole pose full of a tender longing for the departed one. Besides the funeral lecythi a few pieces of pottery have been found, dating from about the same period, which have paintings executed on a ground of white slip. Some of them are of most extraordinary beauty; perhaps the finest of all is a cylix from a Rhodian tomb, now in the British Museum, on the inside of which is a drawing, chiefly in outline, representing Aphrodite seated on the back of a flying swan. For delicacy of touch and refined beauty of drawing this painting is quite unrivalled. The exquisite loveliness of Aphrodite’s head and the pure grace of her profile, touched in with simple brush-formed lines, are quite indescribable, and show a combination of mechanical skill united to imaginative power and realization of the most perfect and ideal beauty such as no people but the Greeks can ever have so completely possessed (see Plate V.).

Vases of the Decadence.—The vases of this class are often of enormous size, covered with very numerous figures, often possessing much graceful beauty in form, but very inferior in execution and purity of drawing to the earlier paintings. The figures, especially in the later specimens, are thoroughly pictorial in treatment; many of them are painted in cream-white, with shaded modelling in yellows and browns. Effects of perspective are introduced in some of the architectural features, particularly in the bands of rich floral scroll-work. In the 2d century, till about 100 B.C., when painted vases ceased to be made, the paintings became extremely coarse and devoid of any merit whatever, though even at this time moulded vases, either decorated with reliefs all over or with small inserted emblemata, continued to be made of great artistic beauty. The extreme degradation to which vase-painting of this period fell seems to be due not so much to the general decay of the arts among the Greeks as to the fact that the vases were no longer made by able artists, but were turned out in large quantities from the hands of an uneducated class of artisans. This was probably partly owing to increasing wealth and love of display, which created a demaad for gold and silver plate rather than for the cheaper but more artistic beauty of painted clay.

The dates of Greek vases are difficult to fix, partly from a natural tendency to archaism, which varies with the productions of different places, and partly because in some cases there was an artificial reproduction of old styles and methods. The following chronological classification, which is commonly accepted, is only very roughly correct, and is not applicable in all instances : (1) black figures on red ground, about 8th century to 440 B. C. ; (2) red figures on black ground, of the best period, c. 440-300 B.C. ; (3) period of decadence, c. 300-100 B.C. Fine moulded black vases, and vases with polychromatic paintings of good style, were made towards the end of the 4th and early part of the 3d century B.C.

Shapes of Vases and their Use.—From the 5th century and afterwards but little scope was left to the fancy of the individual potter in the forms of his vases. One special pattern was pretty closely adhered to for each sort, though, of course, modifications in shape took place as time went on. Fig. 30 gives the forms of the chief sorts of vases; a large number of others exist, each with its special name. Amphorae and hydriae are the largest and most important, and have the grandest picture-subjects painted on them. The cylices frequently have paintings of wonderful delicacy and beauty ; the later Athenian lecythi are remarkable for their polychromatic decoration. The uses of the painted vases is a very difficult question ; few show any signs of wear, though they are made of soft clay easily scratched, and most of those which are represented in use on vase-pictures are plain black without any paintings. A beautiful little pyxis, or perfume-box, in the British Museum, shows in its pictured scene of a lady’s toilet several painted vases, which are set about the room as ornaments, and have flowers or olive-branches in them (see fig. 31). Many vases are blank on one side, or have on the reverse side a painting of inferior execution, apparently because they remained set against a wall or in a niche. Nearly all those now existing came from tombs, and it is probable that the ornamental vases were selected for sepulchral purposes, while a plainer and less decorated class was employed for actual domestic use.

Panathenaic Amphorae.—This is a very important class of vases,1 extending over a long period, from the 6th to the end of the 4th century B.C. Fig. 25 above gives the earliest known specimen. They all have on one side a figure of Athene Promachos, and on the other a scene from the public athletic games. They are inscribed TON A_ENE_EN A_AON EIMI, and some of the later ones have the name of the eponymous archon as well, e.g., IIY_O_HAO_ APX_N on an amphora from Caere, now in the British Museum. Pythodelus was archon in 336 B.C., and so the date of the vases thus inscribed call be accurately determined. A number found at Benghazi and Teuchira in the Cyrenaica are now in tile British Museum and the Louvre. Some of the archons’ names on them are tbese—Nicocrates (333 B.C.), Nicetes (332 B.C.), Euthycritus (328 D.C.), Cephisodorus (323 D.C.), Archippus (321 B. C.), and Theophrastus (313 D.C.). The figure of Athene on all of them is rudely painted in pseudo-archaic style—the figure in black and white, with incised lines, on a red ground ; the other side is painted in the same way, but is not archaic in drawing. Long vowels occur in the archons’ names, but sometimes the same amphora has the obverse inscription written in the old way. They are all poor as works of art. One in the British Museurn is of s1weial interest from the design painted in white on Athene’s shield. This is the celebrated sculptured group of Harmodius and Aristogiton by Critias and Nesiotes, of which an ancient copy exists in the Naples Museum, though the bronze original is lost.

Subjects of Vase-paintings.—These are of great interest, and are almost endless in number ; only the scantiest outline call be given here, and, with so wide a range, any classification is necessarily imperfect. The following list includes the majority of subjects. (1) Stories of the gods, scenes such as the Gigantomachia or the birth of Athene. (2) Scenes from the heroic age, as the achievements of Theseus and Heracles, the wars of Thebes, the battles with the Amazons, the voyage of the Argonauts, the Trojan War, the return of the Greeks from Troy, and the like. (3) Dionysiac subjects, such as orgies of Dionysus and dances of satyrs. (4) Scenes from real life, such as the vintage, olive-gathering, marriages, feasts, dancing, hunting sacrifices, and theatrical subjects. (5) Funeral subjects, as mourners bewailing the dead or bringing offerings to a tomb. (6) Scenes from the gymnasium and various athletic exercises. (7) Allegorical sublects, with figures of happiness, wealth, youth, and the like. (8) Historical subjects, which, however, are rare : a very fine vase in the Louvre, of the best period, has Croesus on his funeral pyre ; the cylix of Arcesilaus has been mentioned above; Anacreon playing on his lyre, and followed by his pet dog, occurs on several fine vases ; the meeting of Sappho and Alcaeus is also represented ; other portrait-figures appear, chiefly of poets and philosophers, many with inscribed names which are now unknown. (9) Humorous subjects : these are common on the vases of the latest period and are usually very coarsely painted ; caricatures of mythological subjects frequently occur in which the gods are represented as dwarfs or hunchbacks.2

Places where Greek Vases have been found.—Till within the last twenty years most were discovered in the tombs of Magna Graecia, Sicily, and Etruria. Capua, Nola, and Vulci supplied a very large quantity of vases of the finest sort with the most rich and brilliant enamel. Special characteristics of style and technique can be traced in the production of special localities, but these differences are not very important. Of late years Attica, the isthmus of Corinth, and other places on Hellenic soil have yielded a great many fine vases ; the islands of the Aegean Sea and the western shores of Asia Alinor are rich in sepulchral stores of these and all branches of Greek art. Athens possesses a fine and rapidly-increasing collection chiefly from Attica. The British Museum collection is oil the whole the finest for Greek vases of all periods, though it is very poor in Etruscan pottery. The other chief collections of Europe are in the Louvre, at Naples, in the Vaticall, at Florence, and Turin ; Munich, Vienna, Berlin, and St Petersburg also have very fine collections ; and there is a small one in the Bibliothèque, Paris.


Very many of the numerous vases discovered in the tombs of ETRURIA (q.v.) are imports either from Greece and its islands or from the neighbouring country of Magna Graecia. Nevertheless there is a large class of pottery which is distinctly native, extending over a very long period, from quite prehistoric ages down to the time when the Roman rule extended throughout the peninsula. This

FOOTNOTES (page 614)

(1) See Ann. Inst., 1830, p. 209, and 1877, p. 294 ; also Mon. Inst., x., tables x1vii., x1viii.

(2) See Heydemann, Humoristische Vasenbilder, Berlin, 1873.

pottery maybe divided into six classes,—(1) prehistoric; (2) black glossy Etruscan; (3) pottery rudely painted with figures of purely Etruscan design; (4) plain biscuit clay, unpainted, but decorated with stamped reliefs; (5) later vases, badly-executed imitations of painted Greek vases, but having Etruscan subjects, or Greek subjects treated in a distinctly Etruscan manner; (6) large clay slabs, with painted figures, used for the wall-decoration of tombs.

1. Prehistoric.—This is the work of the Siculi, Oscans, Umbrians, and other occupiers of Italy before the arrival of the Etruscans. It is mostly small, made without the wheel, of coarse brown or blackish clay, slightly ornamented with ridges of clay modelled in relief. One curious variety is in the form of a primitive Oscan hut, with a movable door, fixed with pegs.1 The Museo del Collegio Romano has a fine collection of the prehistoric pottery of Italy, Sardinia, and other places. Fig. 32 shows some of the commonest forms.

2. Etruscan Black Ware.2—It is remarkable that the Etruscan race, though so extraordinarily skilful in most of the handicrafts, did not excel at any period in their pottery. They were especially famed for their skill in metal-work, and hence perhaps this largest and most numerous class of their fictile ware is mostly shaped after metal forms and decorated with designs not specially suited to clay. The clay of which this black ware is composed consists (taking the average of many analyses) of the following ingredients,—silica 63, alumina 15, peroxide of iron 8, lime 3 _, magnesia 2, and carbon 2. It is hard and metallic in appearance, generally of a glossy black, but sometimes grey. Its black is partly due to the superficial presence of free carbon, showing that the vases were fired in a close kiln, under the direct contact of the carbonaceous smoke from the fuel, a process called in modern times "the smother kiln." If heated to a bright red in an open fire the ware loses its black colour and becomes greyish white or brown. Its forms and the figures stamped in blunt relief all suggest that they were copied from metal originals, a supposition strongly borne out by the fact that many of them are completely covered with gold or silver leaf (see fig. 33). The reliefs upon them consist of lions and other animals, sphinxes, chimaeroe, human figures, or geometrical patterns, all coarsely executed, and very blunt in their forms, partly from want of shapeness in the moulds they are stamped from, and partly through the shrinkage of the clay in the kiln. Some ofv the shapes are graceful, especially those undecorated by reliefs (see fig. 34). Others are very fanciful, worked into forms most unsuited for clay, such as "situlae" or buckets, with movable ring handles; incense cups supported on thin bands of clay stamped with reliefs; and jugs shaped like hollow rings. A few have their shapes copied from Greek vases, e.g., a number of small amphorae of exactly the same form as those made by the Greek potter Nicosthenes. A common form of Etruscan vase has a lid shaped like a human head, copied apparently from Egyptian Canopic vases. Some have human arms rudely modelled in clay and fastened on by pegs. Besides the black vases of this form, there exist many made of red clay covered with yellow slip.

3. Etruscan Painted Vases.—A number of very strange large covered jars have been found at Caere (see fig. 35), more than 3 feet high, and rudely painted in dull colours (black, red, and white) with large figures of animals,—lions, wolves, horses, various birds, and some almost shapeless figures of men. There is considerable spirit in the drawing of the animals, as is often the case even when there was no power to delineate human beings. The finest of these vases are in the Louvre and at Orvieto. Some have only geometrical patterns,—bands of simple leaf-ornament, platbands, orchequers. Others are shaped like large round boxes on a foot, with lids, nearly 2 feet high. One of those in the Louvre, of red clay blackened by smoke, has a very curious drawing in white pigment, coarsely executed. It represents a merchant-ship under full sail being attacked by a war-sbip impelled only by oars; the latter is crowded with soldiers bearing round shields, each with an heraldic device. The other vessel has only one combatant, a bowman, who, mounted, on the yard-arm, discharges an arrow at the enemy. This appears to be a pirate scene, and, though very rudely painted, it is not without strong dramatic force.3

4. Vases in Biscuit Clay with Bands of Stamped Reliefs.—These are mostly large pitbi (see fig. 36) about 3 feet high, or thick pinaces (platters) I to 2 feet across. Some are of dull red clay, covered with bright red slip ; others are yellow. The clay is coarse, mixed with crushed granite, sand, or pounded pottery, to which the coating of fine clayslip gives a smooth surface. Their chief peculiarity consists in the bands of figures in relief with which they are decorated, and which were impressed on the soft clay by rolling along it wheels about 1 inch thick and 7 or 8 inches in circumference. Incuse figures were cut on the edges

FOOTNOTES (page 615)

(1) See Virchow, Die italienischen und deutschen Haus. Urnen, Berlin, 1884.

(2) See Lenormant, "Vases Étrusques de terre noire," in Gazette Archéologique, 1879.

(3) A similar vase is illustrated in Mon. Inst., ix., table iv.

of the wheels, which, when rolled over the clay, printed (like seals) rows of figures, and they were of course repeated every 7 or 8 inches, according to the size of the wheels. These stamped reliefs, mostly about an inch high represent processions of animals,—lions, leopards, boars, ibexes, deer, horses, or griffins. Some have human figures, horsemen fighting with chimaerae. One in the Louvre has a curious hunting-scene, a man, with two dogs, throwing short knobbed sticks to drive hares into a net. The bands are arranged, singly or double, round the rims of the pinaces and the shoulders of the pithi ; the latter are also ornamented with rude fluting or "reeding" below the bands, or have occasionally reliefs, 2 to 3 inches square, stamped at intervals all round them instead of the continuous lines of figures.

5. Later Vases with Imitations of Greek Paintings.—These are mostly copies of Greek forms, but very inferior, both in drawing and technical execution, to the real Greek vases, the black enamel especially being thin, and hard in texture. In appearance they resemble Greek vases of various periods, but are distinguishable by having paintings that are not Hellanic in subject or treatment, or by their Etruscan inscriptions. An amphora, now in the British Museum (see fig. 37), of early style, with black figures and incised lines, has a painting of a scene which belongs specially to Latin mythology, viz., the contest at Pylus between Hercules and Juno Sospita ; Minerva stands behind Hercules and Poseidon behind Juno. On each side of Juno is a caldron full of snakes, probably an allusion to the sacred which was kept in the grove of Juno at Lanuvium. Another amphora in the Parid Bibliothèque has a painting of he scene where Admetus takes leave of Alcestis before her decent to Hades (see fig. 38). Two hideous demons are depicted, waiting to seize their prey ; one, Charun, with winged feet, brandishes a massive hammer ; the other, Mantus, with great write wings, holds a serpent in each hand ; both have a fiendish aspect, with grinning teeth, like the devils in mediaeval pictures of hell, and thoroughly un Greek in spirit. This vase is in the style of the decadence of vase-printing, probably about 200 B.C.

6. Painted Wall-slabs were used to decorate the walls of tombs ; they are from 4 to 5 feet high, about 2 feet wide, and about 1 inch thick. The upper part sometimes has a moulded cornice and a painted frieze with geometrical ornament. The lower part is covered with chequered squared or some other simple pattern. On the intermediate space are painted pictures with figures, about 2 feet high, representing sacrificial scenes, religious processions, and other subjects. The drawing shows Greek influence, but the costumes are Etruscan. The pigments are mostly simple earth-colours, red, brown, and yellow orches, with black, white, and bluish grey ; but bright greens and blues also occur, the latter made from oxides of copper, like the smalto on the Attic locythi. The colours are all applied quite flatly; the flesh is white, the male red ; and the whole printing is emphasized by strong black outlines. The costumes are interesting ; many of the garments fit tightly to the body, and the men mostly wear a peculiar sort of high boot turned up at the tip. It is doubted whether they are executed in true ceramic colours fired in the kiln. They may possibly be only tempera paintings, like those on the tuff-walls of some of the excavated tombs. The great size of the well baked clay slabs on which they are painted shows that the Etruscans must have constructed pottery-kilns of considerable dimensions.1

Inscriptions on Etruscan Vases.—Painted words or phrases are not uncommon on the vases which are limited from the Greek ; they are usually illustrative of the subject, as, for example, the vase mentioned above with the parting scene of Alcestis and Admetus, which has, in addition to the names of the two principal figures, a sentence in the Etruscan language, spoken, by Charun—"Eca ersce nac aqrum wlerorce" (I bear thee to Acheron). The names of Admetus and Alcestis are written retrograde2, thus—Several Etruscan vases of black ware have been found with the complete Etruscan alphabet rudely scratched upon them. They give early forms of the twenty-two Phoenician letters, and are arranged in the Semitic order.3 A cup in the museum at Grosseto has two Greek letters added after the twenty-two which composed the Etruscan alphabet. Some late vases, not earlier than about 200 B.C., are interesting from having inscriptions painted in white, which give early forms of the Latin language. They are mostly dedicatory, with names of Latin deities, e.g., VOLCANI POCVLOM, "the cup of Vulcan"; BELOLAI POCVLOM, "the cup of Bellona," and others.

Dates of Etruscan Pottery.—These can only be roughly estimated.

FOOTNOTE (p.616)

(1) See Dennis, Cities of Etruria, ed. 1878.

(2) See Birch, Ancient Pottery, 1873, p. 460.

(3) See Taylor, Alphabet, 1883, vol. ii. P.73.

The black moulded ware (class 2) seems to range from about the 8th to the 3d century B.C. The large jars with stamped bands (class 4) appear to be all very early in the date, about the 8th century B.C. They are not found in those tombs contain painted vases. The large vessels with native paintings (class 3) are probably of the 6th centuries. The vases with imitations of Greek paintings extend over a long period, from about the 6th to the 2d century B.C.

The greatest quantities of Etruscan pottery have been discovered in the tombs of Tarquinii, Caere, Veii, Cervetri, Chiusi, and near Orbitello, Volterra, Orvieto, and other places in central Italy, but above at all at Vulci. The best collections are in the Louvre and the Vatican, at Florence, Naples, Turin, Bologna, Brescia, and many small towns in Italy in the neighbourhood of the various Etruscan cemeteries, such as Orvieto, Perugia, Grosseto, Volterra, Arezzo, and at Capua, where a very important ceramic museum is being formed.

Literature.—The best articles on the subject of Greek and Etruscan pottery are scattered through the numbers of various archaeological publications, especially the Annali, and Bulletino dell’ Instituto di Corri-spondenza Archeologica, Rome, 1829, and still in progress. Sea also the Bulletino-dell; Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica, Rome, 1829, and still in progress. See also the Bulletino Archeologico Napolitano, 1842–59 ; Stephani, Comple rednu de la Commission Archéologique, St Petersburg, 1859 (in progress) ; Bull. de Cor. Hellen., in progress ; Archäalogische Zeitung, Berlin ; Philogus ; Zeitschrift für des klassische Alterthum ; Rheinisches Museum für Philologie ; Archaeologia, Soc. Ant. London ; Berichte der süchsischen Gessellschaft der Wissenschaften ; Panorfka, Antiques du Cabinet Pourtalès, 1834 ; C. T. Newton, Catalgue of Greek Vases, British Museum, 1851– 70; Gerhard, Antike Bildwerke (1828 –44), Auserlesene griechische Vasenbilder (1840–58), and Griechische und etruskische trinkschalen (1840) ; Benndorf, Griechische und siciliensche Vasenbilder, 1877, in progress (with fine coloured plates, all full size) ; Helbig, Wandgemälde Campaniens, 1868 ; Inghirami, Pitture di Vasi fittili, 1832–39 ; Millingen, Unedited Monuments, London, 1822–26 ; Lenormand and De Witte, Monuments Céramographiques, 1844 –61 ; Raoul-Rochette, Monuments d’Antiquité Grecque, &c., 1833 ; Lahn, Gemälde aus Pompei, &c., 1828–59 ; Bröndsted, Thrity-two Greek Vases, 1832 ; Fiorelli, Vasi dipinti, &c., 1856 ; Gargiulo, Vasi fittili Italo-Greci, 1831 ; Heydamann, Griechische Vasenbilder, 1870, and Die Vasesannlungen es Museo zu Neapel, 1872 ; Jahn, Ueber Darstellungen griechischer Dichter auf Vasenbildern, 1861, and Vasensammlung zu München, 1854 ; Levenzoff, Verzeichniss der antiken Denkmäler, 1834 ; Stephani, Die Vasensammlung der Ermitage, 1869 ; De Witte, Vases peints de la Collection Castellani, 1865 ; Brunn, Probleme in der Geschichte der Vasenmalerie, 1871 ; Dumont, Peintures céram. De la Grèce, 1874, and Vases peints de la Grèce, 1873 ; Dumont and Chaplain, Les Céramiques de la Grèce, Paris, 1883 (in progress, with excellent illustrations) ; Kekulé, Griech. Vasengemälde im Mus. Zu Bonn, 1879 ; Roulez, Vases du Musée de Leide, Ghent, 1854 ; Collignon, Cat. Des Vases du Mus. Athènes, Paris, 1877 ; Froehner, Anatomie des Vases Grecs, Paris, 1880 ; Thiersch, Die hellen. Bemalten Vasen, Munich, 1848.The following works deal specially with the vases found in Etruria:— Inghirami, Museo Chiusino, Fiesole, 1833, and Mon. Etruschi, 1845 ; Conestabile, Mon. di Perugia, 1855–70 ; Noel Desvergers, L’Étrurie, Paris, 1862-64; Bull, degli Scavi d. Soc.columbraria, Florence,in progress ; Gozzadini, Necropoli a Marzabotto (1865–70), Sepoleri d. Necropoli Felsinea (1868), NEcropoli di Villanova (1870), and Sepoleri nell’Arsenale di Bologna (1875) ; Zannoni, Scavi d. Certosa di Bologna (1871), Scavi Arnoaldi(1877), and Scavi di via d. Pratello (1873); all these works by Gozzadini and Zannoni are printed at Bologna. See also Pindar, Nemaean Ode, x. 64 –67, and Strabo, viii. P. 381. For inscriptions on vases, see Ephemeris Epigraphica, and Böckh, Corp. Iscr. Gr.


Some specimens of very peculiar glazed pottery have been found at Cyrene, Cyme, Pergamum, Smyrna, Tarsus, and other Roman colonies in Asia Minor. It is very delicate and often graceful in shape (see fig. 39), with very thin handles, fashioned more like glass than pottery. It is remarkable for being covered with a thick vitreous glaze, usually coloured either green, orange, or purple-brown, with oxide of copper, antimoniate of lead, or manganese, quite unlike the thin almost imperceptible glaze of Greek vases. This pottery is mostly small; some pieces are in the shapes of aenochoae, two-handed cups, or asci, the latter covered with graceful patterns of vines or other plants mould in slight relief. Statuettes and delicate reliefs, parti-coloured with different glazes or enamels, have been found at several of the above places, and also larger vessels, craters, and bottle-shaped vases, decorated with moulded clay emblemata, wholly covered with a fine blue glaze. The Louvre and the British Museum have the best specimens of this rare ware, which probably dates from the 1st century B.C. downwards.

"Samian" ware, the characteristic of which are described below, was made in Italy during the first period of Graeco-Roman art. In 1883 some moulds for cups and bowls were found at Arezzo, all of the most wonderful beauty and gem-like delicacy of execution. The figures on them are from about 3 to 4 inches high, but are large and sculpturesque in their breadth of treatment. Some of the exquisite relief represent dancing fauns and bacchanals, with flowing drapery, on a background enriched with vine plants in slight relief. Another has a love scene of extraordinary grace and refined beauty. The modeling of the nude throughout is most masterly. The treatment of these reliefs recall the school of Praxiteles, though they are probably not earlier than the 1st or 2nd century B.C.

Roman Pottery, 1st Century B.C. to 5th Century A.D.—Throughout Italy, Spain, France, Germany, British, and other countries occupied by the Romans great quantities of pottery have been found, varying but little in design or manner of execution. The principal varieties of this large and widely-spread species of ware may be classified thus—(1) Samian ware ; (2) plain biscuit clay ; (3) pottery decorated with slip in relief; (4) black ware ; (5) glazed ware.

The first class is a fine glossy red ware called "Samian" from its resemblance to the red pottery produced in the Greek island of Samos. The name is a convenient one, and as it is used by Pliny (H. N., xxxv. 46) and other early writers it is well not to discard it, though probably the real Greek Samian pottery bore little resemblance to that made by the Romans except in colour and glossy surface. It is of a fine red sealing-wax-like colour, of pleasant texture, and is generally decorated with moulded reliefs. Materials: the clay body usually consists of silica 50–64 parts, alumina 18–25, red oxide of iron 7 –10, and lime 2, and lime 2–9 parts ; these propositions vary in different specimens. The red vitreous glaze, or rather enamel, which gives the ware its fine glossy surface consists of silica 64 parts, soda 20, and red oxide of iron 11 (average analysis). Method of manufacture : the bowls, cups and other vessels, richly decorated outside with reliefs, were made thus. In the case of a bowl, a mould was first prepared, of hard well-burned clay, covered inside with incuse designs ; these sunk patterns were made either by hand-modelling or, more usually, with the aid of stamps modeled in relief. Thus the inside of the bowl-mould correspond to the outside of the future Samian bowl, which was first turned on the wheel quite plain, but of the right size to fit into the mould. Then, while it was still soft it was pressed into the mould, and afterwards both were put upon the wheel together. As the wheel revolved, the potter could at the same time press the clay into the sunk ornaments of the mould and finish neatly the inside of the vessel. In some cases he raised the walls of the bowl high above the mould by adding clay, and thus with the same mould could produce a variety of forms, though the lower or decorated portion always remained the same. A fine crater in the Lourve was made in this way. The vessel was then removed from the mould and the reliefs touched up by hand (in the finer specimens) with bone or wooden modeling tools. The reliefs thus produced are often very graceful in design, but are mostly wanting in sharpness, many being blunted by the touch of the potter’s fingers in handling the pot after it was removed from the mould.1 It was next covered with the materials for the red enamel, very finely grounded and fired in the usual way. Fig. 40 shows a design of typical character. The outer reliefs consist generally of graceful flowing scrool-work of vines, or other ornaments, mixed occasionally with human figures and animals. The finest sorts of Samian ware were made at Arezzo (Aretium) in Italy2 and Saguntum in Spain (the modern

FOOTNOTE (p. 617)

(1) In some rare case the reliefs were moulded separately then applied to the plain wheel-turned vessel while yet soft, but this was exceptional.

(2) See Fabroni, Vasi fittili Aretini, 1841.and Inghirami, Mon. Etrus., 1845.

Murviedro). It was also produced in France and Germany, and the discovery of a Samian bowl-mould at York makes it appear probable that it was made in Britian, where great quantities of it have been found. This ware is of great beauty, both in colour and in its delicate surface beliefs; it is the most artist sort of pottery that the Romans produced. It appears to have been highly valued as many Samian bows have been found carefully mended with bronze or lead rivets. In addition to the moulded ware many vessels of the same class were made plain from the wheel ; others have a peculiear scale ornament in relief applied by the potter’s thumb, a form of decoration common in other varieties of Roman pottery.

2 Plain Biscuit Pottery is made of simple unglazed clay, without decoration, of a soft body and quite porous. The clay composed thus : silica 48 –69 per cent., alumina 10-22, oxide of iron 8 –13, lime 1_ -18 per cent., but it, of course, varies according to the locality where the pottery was made. Fig. 41 shows some of the forms of this simple ware. It was specially used for amphorae, often nearly 2 feet high, sepulchral urns, and vessels for common domestic use. The forms are mostly graceful and natural. The clay is of many colours, including all shades of red, grey, brown, and (rarely) almost pure white . Some of this pottery has the grain which had been produced by the wheel carefully smoothed out by a tool or the potter’s hand, or in some cases by dipping the piece into a bath of thin fluid slip, but it is more commonly left without any attempt at smoothness or high finish.

3. Pottery with Reliefs applied in Slip.—This is a very remarkable kind of decoration, in which great skill was shown by the Roman potters. The slip, finely-ground clay, was mixed with water to about the consistency of very thick cream, and was allowed to run slowly or drop off a wooden point or flat spatula upon the outside of ordinary wheel-made pottery. Very spirited figures of animals (see fig. 42)—hares pursued by dogs, lions, goats, horses, deer, or even complicated subjects with human figures such as gladiators’ combats—and a great variety of graceful scroll-ornaments of vine, ivy, or convolvulus were produced in this way with wonderful ingenuity. Both the outline and the modeling were given with curious precision by the quantity of semi-fluid slip which was allowed to flow off the tool. The body, eg., of a dog would be poured off a sort of small palette-knife, and its thinner legs formed by trailing along a point dipped in the slip. Tools for this purpose have been found near Roman kiln. One of the most elaborate specimens of this kind of pottery is a cup in the Colchester Museum, covered with reliefs of chariot-races and gladiators’, done with great vigour and even minuteness of detail considering of the process. In some cases, especially when the designs are simple scroll or geometrical ornaments, additional effect is produced by the use of a slip coloured differently from the body of the pot. Frequently the relief-patterns are white, made of pipeclay, to a red or dark coloured vessel. The vessels with this class of decoration are mostly small bowls, cups, or bottle-like vases. Some few are made of the Samian ware, but more commonly they are grey or blackish with body and slip both of the same clay. A great deal of coarse Roman pottery is rudely decorated with a thin slip of red, white, or yellow clay, put on with a brush in coarse bands or scroll-patterns. The slip in this case is treated as a pigment of the simplest kind, and does not stand out in relief. With this trifling exception, nothing in the form of painted vases was produced by the potters of Roman times.

4. Black Pottery is usually made from a very silicious or sandy clay, composed thus—(average of several analyses) silica 76 parts, alumina10, oxide of iron 9, lime 2. It owes its black colour and rather metallic gloss to the direct contact of smoke in a close or smother kiln. If heated in an open fire it burns out usually to a grayish white. A great deal of this ware belongs also to class 3, as it is frequently decorated with simple patterns in with slip ; the presence of the white clay on the black body implies a second firing, free from the contact of smoke, and not high enough in temperature to burn the black out of the body of the pot. This ware was largely made at many places in Germany along the Rhine, in France, and especially at Castor in Northamptonshire, where remains of many Roman kilns have been found. It varies very much in shape and in method of decoration. Some of the numerous specimens from Bonn and Rheinzabern are treated in a manner different from the British varieties. A few are coated with a black similar to that used by the Greeks, but very thin and poor in quality. Others have a mechanical polish applied after firing, whilst the pot was again set on the wheel, by rubbing it with black lead, occasionally applied in bands of alternately dull and bright black all round the pot. A fine specimen from Coblentz, now in the Sèvres Museum, has a curious combination of stamped work and relief formed in fluid slip. The design represents a lion running through vine-branches. The body of the lion and the grapes are stamped from a mold, the rest begin done in slip. Cups and small jars of this were are frequently modeled into strange shapes by being pinched in at various places by the potter’s fingers while they were fresh the wheel. Others are decorated with groups of dots, made of semi-fluid slip, apparently applied through a pierced stencil-plate (see fig. 43). The dots are arranged in close rows, forming rectangular patches, arranged round the body, of the vessel,— very dull kind of ornament, which may, however, have had a practical use in making the pottery less liable to slip from the holders’ fingers.

5. Glazel Pottery.—This is rare, but has been found in most of the countries once occupied by the Romans. Some of the best specimens resemble that described above as Graeco-Roman glazed ware. Most are, however, very inferior, both in execution and in the quality of the glaze, which is a true glass, usually coloured light green or brownish yellow. A cake of semi-fused greenish glass, apparently intended for this purpose, was found in the ruins of a kiln in Britain. This glazed pottery is small, and is decorated in various ways, by incised lines, or groups of dots in relief, or by brush-applied stripes of red or white clay.

In addition to the forms of Roman domestic pottery shown in the above figures one peculiar shape occurs very frequently, namely the "mortarium," a large shallow dish, made of thick clay, with a spout at one side, used for triturating cooked vegetables or other soft substances. The inside mortar-like dishes is often roughened by being sprinkled, while in a soft state, with crushed quartz or pottery, apparently to aid the process of pounding. They are made of various kinds of ware, especially red Samian and yellow biscuit clay.

Clay lamps were very largely used by the Romans, mostly made of plain biscuit clay, but the finest specimens are in the red Samian ware. A few have been found with a thick vitreous glaze, coloured like the rest of the Roman glazed wares (see LAMP, vol. xiv. P. 247).

An extensive use of baked clay was made by the Romans in the manufacture of bricks, roofing-tiles, flue-tiles, drain-pipes, baths, and even coffins. The bricks are generally very large and thin, some 15 to 18 inches long, and only 1 _ inches thick, and walls were entirely built of them. They were also used to form alternating bands in stone walls, the brick bands usually consisting of from three to five courses. In Rome bricks were merely used as a facing to concentrate walls. They are always triangular in shapes, except such to concrete walls. They are always triangular in shape, except such as were set at the angles of walls and used as facing to arches. Those used for the latter purpose are generally two Roman feet square (about 1 foot 11 _ inches English). See ROME. The system of heating employed by the Romans in their houses and baths was very ingenious and complete the whole. Sometimes the whole walls of a room were lined with clay flue-pipes, square in section, which, being connected at the bottom with the hypocaust, carried the hot air over the whole wall-surface as well as under the floor (see BATH), the mosaic and concrete area of which (the "suspensura") was supported on large clay slabs carried on short brick pillars Flanged tiles similar to those used for roofing, were often built up on edge, with others set across the top, to form graves, and to protect the sepulchral urns other buried objects from being crushed by the weight of earth upon them.

Roman Pottery-kilns.—Great numbers of Roman kilns have been found in various countries, but none quite perfect. They are small, round, or oval structures of brick, with a place for the fuel at one side, and a floor made of pierced slabs of clay, on which the pots were piled, in the flames and hot air passing through the holes in the clay floor. Most kilns were probably covered by a brick dome with a central opening, exactly the same in principle as the early Corinthian kiln shown in fig. 3. The smother kilns may, however, have been arranged rather differently, so as to fire the pots in an atmosphere of heated smoke ; or this may have been done by partly closing the aperture at the top, in order to half smother the fire, and prevent its burning with a hot clear flame. Fig. 44 shows the remains of one of the Castor kilns, about 7 feet in diameter, with an arched opening for the insertion of the fuel, and a pierced floor, made of large clay slabs radiating to a central point, where they were supported by a brick pillar. Other kilns have been found in the Upchurch marshes (Kent), along the Severn banks in Shropshire, at Ashdon (Essex), Colchester, London, York and many other Romano-British towns. Though varying in shape, yet in general principle Roman kilns, in whatever country they are found, are practically the same.

Inscriptions on Roman Pottery.—Potter’s names, impressed from oblong or circular incuse stamps, occur very frequently on many varieties of Roman pottery, especially on the plain biscuit and Samian wares. Teutonic and Gaulish names sometimes appear, showing that in certain cases native potters worked at the Roman potteries. When the potter’s name is in the nominative, it is followed by F. or FECIT ; if in the genitive, by MANV or OFFICINA, usually in some contracted form. In addition to the potter’s name those of the owner of the workshop and of the estate from which the clay came occasionally occur, as for example, OP (US) DOL(IARE) L. IVLI THEOD (OTI) E(QVITIS) R (OMANI) FIG (LINAE) SAL (ARIAE) EX (PR (AEDIS) FL(AVII) TITIANI C. V. (clarissimi viri), "Pot-work from the salarian manufactory belonging to L. Julius Theodotus, a Roman knight, (the clay taken) from the estate of Flavius Titianus, a most distinguished person," this last being a title used like the English "esquire."

This brick stamp is from a house built against the ancient wall round the Capitoline hill, and dates from the middle of the 2nd century A.D. Few brick stamps found in Rome are older than the end of the 1st century A.D. ; but some have been found at Valia in Cisalpine Gaul dated with the names of the consuls for 75 B.C. Other have also the name of the ruling emperor. Roman soldiers were often employed to make bricks and tiles ; and many such are stamped with the mark or number of a Roman legion, e.g., LEG. VI. for "legio sexta." Amphorae were occasionally inscribed, in rudely-painted ochre colours, with words to indicate the quality of wine they contained or their measure of capacity, but such inscriptions were probably added when the amphorae were in their owner’s cellar, and were simply painted in tempera. Numbers of large amphorae were frequently embedded in the concrete of which Roman vaults were made, especially during the 3d and 4th centuries A.D., one object of this being to gain lightness without much loss of strength. The circus of Maxentius and the mausoleum of the empress Helena, both outside the walls of Rome, are examples of this curious use of pottery.

Literature.—Pliny, H. N. xxxv.; Birch, Ancient Pottery, 1873 ; Jewitt, Ceramic Art of Great Britain, vol. i., 1877 ; Artis, The Durobrivae of Antoninus, 1828 ; Church, Corintium Museum, 1871 ; Cochet, Archéologie céramique, 1860 ; Roach-Smith, Roman London, 1859 ; Wright, The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon, 1861 ; Marcilly, L’Art céramique en Gaule, 1874 ; Fabroni, Vasi fittili Aretini, 1841 (Samian ware) ; Robert, Les figures des poteries rougeâtres antiques, 1865 ; Shortt, Sylvia antique Iscana, 1841. See also many articles in Archaeologia, the Archaeological Journal, and other socities’ Proceedings.


It is convenient to class under this head all the numerous varieties of pottery which were the work of Moslem races. In all this pottery, with the exception of that included under the head "Hispano-Moorish" (see p. 622), there is a great similarity in character of design and in methods of execution, both of which appear to a great extent to have been originated and brought to highest perfection under the Persians, who seem to have inherited, through the Sasanians, much of the skill in manipulating clay and manufacturing enamels and glazes which was possessed by the people of ancient Assyria. The Persian of the 10th to the 17th century, perfect masters of all the decorative arts to a degree possessed probably by no other race or age, excelled in pottery as in other handicrafts. Their enamels and glazes are made and applied with the greatest skill ; their colours are brilliant and yet harmonious; and the patterns painted on their pottery are designed with the most wonderful grace and freedom, together with a perfect sense of the right kind of ornament to use for each special place and material.

Materials used by Persian Potters.—In most cases the clay body of Persian pottery is completely covered either with a white enamel or with slip, and therefore any sort of clay sufficiently plastic for the wheel suited the purpose, whatever its colour. The enamel was much the same as that used by the ancient Assyrians, except that it contained a much larger proportion of oxide of lead, of which there were often three parts to one of oxide of tin and five of silicate of soda. The white slip is silicate of alumina with some alkali. The glaze is either a pure silicate of soda, or has in addition a little oxide of lead to increase its fusibility. The pigments are oxides of cobalt and copper for the blues and greens, manganese for the purples, oxides of copper and iron for the reds, magnetic oxide of iron for the black, and antimony for the yellow; a rich warm orange was produced by a mixture of antimony and red oxide of iron. It is not always possible without actual analysis to tell whether the white ground of Persian pottery is a tin enamel or a glazed slip, especially as in many cases a glaze is applied over the enamel; but this is not a point of great importance, as the decorative treatment of the white ground was in either case much the same.

The following are the chief varieties of Persian pottery.

1. Lustred Ware.—The application of lustre colours requires a special process of firing. The following descrip-tion applies equally to the other two classes of pottery in which lustre pigments were largely used, namely, Hispano--Moorish and Italian majolica. The special beauty of the lustre depends on the decomposition of a metallic salt, usually silver or copper; the required design was painted in a pigment composed mainly of this salt over the surface of the smooth enamel or glaze after it had been fired. The vessel with the lustre pigments was then fired again in a kiln specially so arranged that the heated gases and smoke should come into contact with the metallic pig-ments; the minute and heated particles of carbon in the smoke combined with the oxygen of the salt, setting free the metal, which was left, in a finely-divided state, fixed on the surface of the enamel. In this way a beautiful prismatic effect was produced like the colours of mother--of-pearl. The lustre colours when looked at from one point of view are simply various shades of browns and yellows, but when seen at an angle they appear shot with the most brilliant violets, blues, purples, and red. They were used generally, and with best effect, over a white ground (see fig. 45), but also over deep-blue or green enamels. Lustre colours were specially used by the Persians for wall-decoration (see TILES), but they also used them on both white and blue enamel grounds to ornament hookah--bottles, bowls, plates, ewers, and tall rose-water bottles. The lustre is generally used alone, and not, as in the Italian majolica, combined with other non-lustre pigments. Its use is very early in Persia: dated specimens exist of the 10th century; and its manufacture has continued down to the present time, though that now made is of a very inferior quality.

2. Coarse pottery covered with a fine white silicious slip on which arabesques and other simple patterns are painted in black, the whole then covered by a transparent green glaze. This is a very ancient sort of ware, made in Egypt during the XVIIIth Dynasty and many centuries after by Moslem potters, from the early years of their occupation of Egypt down to a very recent period. To this class belong the "bacini" or large dishes with which some of the 12th-century churches in Pisa and other towns in Italy were decorated. They were built in on the outside walls of the campanili, or used in rows to form friezes. In design and method of execution they have nothing in common with Italian majolica, and the oft-repeated story of their being the models from which the Italians learned to make their majolica appears to be a baseless fable.

3. Sgrafflato Ware.—These are certain large bowls or jars decorated in a peculiar way, being covered first with a coating of white enamel and then with a complete coat-ing of brown or deep-blue enamel. The pattern, usually graceful branches of plants with pointed leaves, is formed by cutting through the upper coloured layer down to the white enamel underneath before firing in the kiln. Thus the design appears in white with a coloured ground. The white is, of course, slightly sunk below the coloured layer. Bowls thus decorated are mostly white inside, with a little simple painting in blue, the sgraffiato or incised work being only on the outside.

4. The next class is the reverse of the incised ware in treatment: the whole vessel is covered with brown or blue enamel, and the design, either arabesques geometrically treated or natural sprays of foliage, is painted over it in white enamel, thickly applied so as to stand out in slight relief. This and the preceding class are usually glazed over the enamels, a common Persian practice, to gain addi-tional richness and brilliance of surface. Somewhat akin to this ware in style is a very beautiful sort of pottery with most graceful and delicate designs touched on with a fine brush over a white enamel ground. The pigments are blue, green, grey, and a very rich orange tending to red, and are all thickly but very delicately put on ; these pieces are of extreme beauty both in colours and in design. Tall jars, bottles, bowls, plates, and hookab-jars are the vessels usually decorated in this way. Some of the large plates are perfect marvels of decorative beauty of the most refined and graceful kind.

5. Damascus Ware.—Under this head is generally included a good deal of Persian pottery made at other places besides Damascus, but of similar style and colour-ing. It is mostly remarkable for the fineness of its white enamel or slip, its rich glaze, and the beauty of the designs and colours. One class is painted wholly in various tints of blue, the design being often regular and treated with some geometrical stiffness. Other sorts have in addition a soft olive green, and purple-brown made of manganese (see fig. 46). One of the finest specimens of the ware is a lamp taken from the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem, and now in the possession of Mr Drury Fortnum, F.S.A. (see fig. 47). It is inscribed in large blue letters with pious sayings of Mohammed, and in small black charac-ters round the lower rim, "In the year 956, in the month Jumádá ‘l-úla. The painter is the poor, the humble Mus-tafa." According to our reckoning this date is June 1549 A. D., the year when the Dome was re-stored by Sultan Suleiman, who was probably the donor of this beautiful lamp. One class of painted decoration used in Damascus ware has flowers treated in a simple way, yet with much natural beauty, such, as the rose, hyacinth, tulip, carnation, and others, arranged on large plates and bowls with the most perfect skill and good taste. The plate shown above (fig. 46) is a good example of this sort of design.

6. Rhodian ware, so called because it was largely manufactured by Oriental potters in the island of Rhodes, is made of rather coarse clay, covered with a fine white silicious slip, on which the decorations are painted, the whole being then covered with a thick glaze formed of silica, oxide of lead, and soda. Its chief characteristic is the use of a fine red pigment, which owes its colour to the red oxide of iron. This pigment was applied in very thick body, so that it stands out in actual relief like drops of sealing-wax. Plates, tall bottles, jars, mugs, and pitchers with handles are the usual forms. They are all decorated with patterns of great beauty and splendour of colour, brilliant blues, greens, and the peculiar red being the chief (see fig. 48). The designs gre mostly flowers. exactly the same in drawing and ar-rangement as those on the last-men-tioned sort of Dam-ascus ware. Other more geometrical patterns are also used, but mostly for wall-decoration. The finest specimens of Rhodian ware date from the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries. Other pieces of this pot-tery, which appear to have been made for European buyers, have coats of arms or human figures, the latter very coarsely executed, and prob-ably later in date than the purely Ori-ental designs. The town of Lindus, where ruined kilns yet remain, was one of the chief places in Rhodes for the production of this kind of pottery. With other Oriental wares it was imported into western Europe during the 16th century. Some specimens exist with English silver mounts of the time of Elizabeth, very elaborately wrought. It was probably included under the title of "Damas ware," a name which often occurs in mediaeval inventories, and appears to include many varieties of Oriental pottery, all of which were very highly valued in France, Italy, and England during the long period when the native pottery in those countries was of a very rude description. The South Kensington Museum and the Hôtel Cluny in Paris , have the finest collections of this magnificent class of Oriental pottery; some very choice specimens are in the British Museum and the Louvre.

7. Pottery made in Persia under Chinese Influence.—This includes several varieties more or less strongly Chinese in method of execution or in design. It is recorded that Sháh ‘Abbás I., a great patron of all the arts, about the year 1600, invited a number of Chinese potters to establish themselves at Ispahan for the sake of introducing improve-ments in the manufacture of pottery. Though no hard porcelain like that of China appears to have been made in Persia, several new methods of work were introduced, and a new style of decoration, half-Chinese and half-Persian, was largely used for a long period after the arrival of the Chinese potters

The main varieties of this Perso-Chinese ware are the following. (1) A sort of semi-porcelain, called by English dealers, quite without reason, "Gombroonware," which is pure white and semi-transparent, but, unlike Chinese porcelain, is soft and friable where not protected by the glaze. It is composed of silicate of alumina, with free silica, and an alkaline flux; in the beat of an ordinary porcelain furnace it fuses into a transparent glass. It is very fragile, but is of an extremely pleasant texture and slightly creamy tint. It is frequently decorated with simple patterns pierced through the sides of the vessel; the holes are filled up by the transparent glaze which covers the whole, thus forming, as it were, little windows of clear glass. It is also often decorated with painted flowers or arabesques in cobalt blue and manganese purple. The forms of the ware are small and delicate, mostly cups, plates bowls and flower-vases with many necks; these were made from the 17th down to the 19th century. (2) Cé1adon, very like that made in China, but greyer in tint, is common earthenware covered with a green enamel. It was much valued by the Persians and other nations on account of the belief that a cup of this ware betrayed the presence of poison either by breaking or by changing colour. The Persians call it "jachmi" (jade), from its resemblance to that valuable stone. (3) Pottery of coarse clay, modelled with blunt reliefs, and the whole covered with green enamel. Another variety is covered with a bright blue enamel, chiefly used for ewers, hookah-bottles, and tall jars. The moulded reliefs are either flowers or human figures, poor both in design and execution. This kind of decoration was much used for heavy square bottles or tall jars; it has little or no trace of the usual Persian tastefulness of design, and the colour is harsh, Most of this ware is not older than the 18th and 19th centuries. It is very largely Chinese in style. (4) Pottery painted in cobalt blues on a white ground, with some black, used chiefly for outlines. This is the largest class of Perso-Chinese pottery, and of it were made large dishes, bowls, bottles, ewers, and almost all forms of domestic and ornamental vessels. In some the design is purely Persian, in others almost purely Chinese, while in others the two styles are mingled. The Chinese grotesque dragons and mannered treatment of fir trees and even human figures frequently occur, but the more graceful designs have flowers and foliage arranged ,with that great decorative skill and good taste for which the Persians are so remarkable. Fig. 49 shows a dish from the South Kensington Museum in which there is little or no Chinese influence in the design ; it is painted only in blues, and dates from the 17th century. Some few pieces have figures and flowers moulded in low relief, merely indicating the form, and then painted in blues and black lines. On the whole this class of pottery is very decorative in effect; the glaze is thick, and the blues frequently softened by having run a little in the firing; the different shades of blue are very varied and harmonious, ranging from indigo to a deep ultramarine.

Hispano-Moorish Pottery, and Enamelled Lustre Wares produced under Oriental lnfluence in Sicily and the Balearic Isles.—To the earlier or Arab period of Oriental rule in south-west Europe no existing specimens of pottery can be attributed, though there are sufficient records to show that the Arab potters of Spain, as of other parts of the world, were highly distinguished for their skill and the artistic beauty of their wares. The existing specimens of Hispano-Moorish pottery, which are very numerous, date from the early years of the Moorish occupation, towards the end of the 13th century, and continue down to the 17th century. During this long period three stages were passed through, each with characteristics of its own , but passing imperceptibly one into anotber,—(l) pottery made by the Moors for their own use; (2) pottery made by them for the use of their Christian conquerors ; (3) pottery made by Spanish potters who imitated the teclini-cal methods of the Moors, and to some extent their designs and style of decoration.

Technical Methods, Colours, &c.—The technical methods remained the same throughout all three periods. The process was this. After the pot had been thrown on the wheel, a rather coarse red or yellowish clay being used, it was dipped into a cream-like mixture of the materials for its white enamel coat. This, like the white enamel of Persian pottery, was simply a glass rendered white and opaque by the addition of oxide of tin. When fired, the vessel was covered with a smooth coat of enamel, slightly creamy in colour and very pleasant in texture. Only two colours were used for decoration, and very often only one. The chief of these was a lustre, made with oxides of copper or silver, and varying in tint from a pale lemon yellow to a deep coppery red. The peculiar application of lustre-colour has been described above under the head of "lustred ware" (p. 620). The other colour is a deep indigo blue, varying in tint, and produced sometimes with copper and sometimes with cobalt oxides. The blue was applied before the lustre, which always required a special and final firing under different conditions from those necessary for the fusion of the white enamel and the blue pigment. The chief towns in which the ware was manufactured were Malaga, Valencia, and Manises (in the province of Valencia); the celebrated amphora-shaped vase found in the Alhambra was probably from the first of these places. Ibn Batuta (14th century) describes the beauty of the "gold-coloured pottery" of Malaga, and says that it was largely exported into distant countries. Marineo (Cosas memorables de España, 1517) and Ercolano (Historia de Valencia, 1610) both praise highly the "gilt pottery" made at Valencia and Manises. The term "gilt" refers to the metallic golden colour of the lustre. Pieces of Valencia ware occur with the accompany-ing mark (No. 1). The usual forms of this pottery chiefly consist of deep dishes and bowls, jars, drug-pots, goblets, and large bucket-shaped vessels. The early ones, such as the Alhambra amphora, dating from the early part of the 14th century, are decor-ated with delicate and graceful arabesqne patterns, or branches of a plant like the briony, the leaves of which are often alternately in blue and in yellow Potter’s lustre. A few have Arabic inscriptions. The designs are most masterly, drawn with great freedom of touch, and very decorative in effect. The delicacy and minuteness of the painting are often increased by white lines on the yellow lustre, done with a wooden point by wiping out the lines through the lustre pigment before it was fired; this could be done easily, because the lustre was painted on the hard smooth enamel after it was fired, not on an absorbent biscuit surface.

The pottery of the earlier period has mostly a lustre of pale almost lemon yellow made with oxide of silver, while the later and of coarser varieties have a deep-red lustre made from copper, which is rather harsh and too metallic in appearance. The decorations of the second period are very frequently heraldic in character. A favourite design for large dishes is a lion rampant or a displayed eagle, the latter used as the emblem of St John the Evangelist, the patron saint of Valencia ; others have shields with the arms of Castile and Aragon or of royal personages. Many of the grandly-decorated dishes are not only ornamented on the front but also have their backs elaborately covered with rich and graceful ara-besques. Some of this ware is moulded in slight relief; plates have slightly projecting ribs, and goblet-shaped cups have swelling gadroons, a form copied from metal originals. Fig. 50 shows a fine dish, now in the British Museum, painted in copper lustre and blue; though Moorish in style, it has a Spanish inscription, SENTA CATALINA GVARDA NOS. The pottery of the third class is very inferior in all respects to the work of the Moorish potters. Not only is the lustre harsh in quality but the designs are very coarse and often rudely executed, though still for the most part retaining strong traces of their Oriental origin. The mark appended (No. 2) is attributed to the manufactory of Manises, which was very productive in the 17th century.

In addition to the lustred pottery of this sort made in Spain ware of similar design and execution was produced in the Balearic Islands. Many pieces exist bearing the arms of Inca in Majorca. The beauty of Balearic pottery is mentioned by Giovanni da Uzzano, who,wrote a treatise on trade and navigation in 1442. It was also alluded to by J. C. Scaliger (Exercitationes, xcii) in the 16th century. This pottery was largely imported into Italy, where, it no doubt influenced the design of some of the so-called "majolica," though it can hardly have originated its manufacture, as has so often been assorted.

Another class of pottery has been attriburted to the Moslem conquerors of Sicily, though without much distinct evidence. It is very similar to the Hispano-Moorish ware, except that the lustre is painted over a ground of blue not white enamel. Some other pottery, with paintings in blue with black outlines, on a white silicious slip, and covered by a thick vitreous glaze, may be the work of Siculo-Moorish potters. The designs are very bold and effective, often with inscriptions in large Arabic characters, or grotesque horses and other animals, boldly drawn. The attribu-tion of Moslem pottery to special localities is always difficult and uncertain, owing to the great similarity in design and in methods of execution that is always common to Moslem races wherever they may have chanced to settle.

The Kensington Museum and the Hôtel Chuny have the best collections of Persian and Hispano-Moorish wares. The British Museum, the Louvre, and the Archaeological Museum of Madrid have many very choice specimens. Others are scattered through the various museums of Europe.

In other parts of the world, especially among the Moslem people of India, Persia, and northern Africa, very graceful pottery is now made, especially the plain biscuit varieties, in accordance with traditional forms and methods. The common pottery of Egypt is very beautiful in shape and often pleasant in colour and texture, at several places on the banks of the Nile a fine red ware, very like the Roman "Samian," is still largely manufactured, and he water-jars made of the common brown clay are generally fashioned in shapes of almost Hellenic beauty, which seem to have been continually used since the time of the Ptolemies.

Literature.—For the subject of the preceding section the reader may consult Chardin, Voyages en Perse, c. 1650 (printed in 1811); Rochechouart, Souvenirs d’un Voyage en Perse, 1867 ; Henderson, Collection of Pottery, &c., 1868 ; Fortnum, South Kensington Museum Catalogue of Pottery, 1873 ; Davillier, Les Faïences Hispano-Moresques, 1861 ; and many works on the general history of pottery.

Read the rest of this article:
Pottery and Porcelain - Table of Contents

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries