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VAS (vasa, generic name for earthenware) covers in its extended sense (a) vessels of all materials; (b) utensils of every sort; and is (c) in a special use applied to the baggage of an army.

Earthenware naturally subdivides itself into two classes, embracing firstly those objects of the commonest utility which, once a suitable material and form have been invented, retain that form and material practically unaltered to the end; and, secondly, those which are subject also to the laws of ornament and fashion. Product of primitive civilisation as is the invention of baked clay for household utensils, no art is wholly removed from the influence of its sister arts. Gourds, earlier in use than earthen-ware vessels, showed men how to shape and ornament them; and metal-work, ornamental glass, and textile industries have all left their mark on the development of Greek and Roman ceramics.

The earliest pottery unearthed on Greek soil is represented in the finds of Dr. Schliemann at Hissarlik, and is of a rude type. The manufacture is as yet in almost its first stage. There are vases of very various forms, doubtless meant for special uses, but showing no great adaptation of means to end: in scarcely more than [p. 2.920]two series have the potters succeeded in establishing fixed types; the one (fig. 1) being that

Fig. 1. Two-handled Vase from hissarlik. (Schliemann, Ilios.

which Dr. Schliemann imagined might represent the Homeric δέπας ἀμφικύπελλον, the other (fig. 2)--the “owl-vase” --being noteworthy

Fig. 2. So-called “Owl Vase” from hissarlik. (Schliemann, Ilios.

as marking a first attempt to establish, in the analogy between a vase and a living thing, a principle of design and decoration. [Examples of the shapes: Schliemann, Ilios, p. 299, No. 179, and pp. 340 ff., figs. 227 ff., respectively.] This analogy, though helpful, is responsible for many vagaries in early ceramic art. The Hissarlik vases are hand-made--Dr. Schliemann excepts one, figured Ilios, p. 214, No. 23--are generally of a dull-black colour produced by the smoke of the furnace impregnating their substance, and have been rubbed, after firing, by a piece of wood or some similar material so as to dress the surface and impart a certain polish. The clay contains many particles of mica, which may be used like pounded granite to bind and strengthen. Handles are not generally employed, and their place is taken by bosses pierced for the passage of a thong by which the vessel might be hung against a wall: a practice sometimes retained in later ware as a mere form of ornament. The vases are never painted, but in a certain proportion of them scratches have been made to serve a first rude idea of design. These scratchings have, Dr. Schliemann states, been in many cases “filled up with white chalk;” but the presence of the chalk may, as in the parallel instance of certain Cypriote vases, be accidental and due to the nature of the soil, which both at Hissarlik and Alambra (Cyprus) is of a limestone formation. A fragment of a large πίθος “from the second city” exhibits a second style of ornamentation, the design being given by strips of clay applied in relief. [For the Hissarlik pottery, see Schliemann, Ilios and Troja; Dumont et Chaplain, Les Céramiques, s. v.]

In many ways analogous to the pottery of Hissarlik, but showing a distinct advance upon it, is that obtained from the most ancient graves of Cyprus. The class of ware here indicated is known by the name of the place where most examples have been found, Alambra (Dali): elsewhere in Cyprus it has not been discovered except at Larnaca (Kition): both are sites especially associated with Phoenician colonisation. The class consists of vases (a) covered with a vitreous slip and baked to a lustrous red, almost vermilion in tint, ranging sometimes, by over-exposure, to black or, by under-exposure, to a light red: the ornamentation is by lines incised generally before, occasionally after, firing. Some specimens of this class are decorated in appliqué with strips of clay, which here and there take shape as serpents. (b) Made of extra fine clay, moulded to a very delicate texture. The colour is grey, or pale black; and the vessels are less frequently ornamented with incised lines, and more often by appliqué work: often the vase is left plain. The ware seems to be rather later in date than that mentioned under (a).

It is in the Alambra pottery that a distinctive style first emerges, both in form and ornament. Two shapes are characteristic, the first of which is simply a reproduction in clay of the long-stalked gourd which has always been and is to-day the commonest water-or wine-bottle of the Cypriotes: in some cases it has even been fitted with a string and stopper, thus carrying the resemblance into the closest detail. [An example is in the Brit. Mus., 1 V. R., Wall-case 3, No. 1.] The other shape is that of a broad, shallow, handleless cup. Something like a system of ornamentation also appears: the scratches are gathered together to form lozenges and cables, and the field is divided into sections by perpendicular lines. Many of the vases with their bright red colouring set off by the white lines of incision, or their delicate grey tint, are really effective. Their greater merit may be due to [p. 2.921]Semitic influence, to which also the use of the wheel is perhaps to be assigned.

Similar vases, though of inferior style, have been found on a number of the Aegean Islands, such as Amorgos, Antiparos, Naxos, Melos: and they represent a distinct epoch in ceramics, an epoch undoubtedly of considerable duration. Already however a new style is growing up, and the introduction of painting opens a great career to the potter. By whom and when painted vases were invented is unknown, nor is it; necessary to assume for them a single source. At Thera (Santorin), which has, among the Aegean Islands, yielded the richest harvest of early pottery, the new style is found already established. Thera ware is made entirely upon the wheel, and, almost for the first time, vases are furnished with a foot and intended to stand by themselves instead of being hung against a wall. The clay used proves the fabric to be an insular product: while the ornamentation shows a great preference for plant-life, but admits also animal forms. Though great success is not attained, there is a distinct striving to imitate nature. As to colours, red, brown-black, and white are used upon prepared grounds of grey, buff; and a brownish red. By substituting the brush for the point the artist is enabled to ornament also the inside of the vase, and thus a new departure is taken.

Thera pottery is found beneath a lava stratum, and this fact has given it an exceptional value as suggesting the possibility of an approximate date. Geologists, however, are unable to speak either with precision or unanimity; and the opinion now in vogue that the ware belongs to the period 2000-1500 B.C. must stand for what it is worth. Any attempt to date the Hissarlik and Alambra types from that of Thera is without value: Cypriote pottery in particular, owing to its conservativeness, is exceptionally difficult in the matter of chronology.

[For early Cypriote pottery, see an article by Sandwith, Archaeologia, xlv. (1877-80), which is especially valuable for its reserve. and for its illustrations in colour (v. pl. ix.); also Dümmler, Mitth. d. Ath. Inst. xi. pp. 209 f. and A. S. Murray in Cesnola's Cyprus. For Thera, Dumont et Chaplain, Les Céramiques, s. v. “Type de Santorin,” and pll. i. and ii.: the geological question in Fouqué, Santorin et ses Éruptions.]

The vases of Thera supply a natural point of transition to the second great stage of early ceramic art represented by the so-called Mycenaean ware. Spread over virtually the whole of the ancient classical world, there has been found a class of pottery more or less uniform in technique and ornamentation which has formed the subject of special study by Drs. Furtwängler and Löschcke and has been named by them “Mycenaean.” This class divides itself broadly into vases painted (a) with opaque, or matt, and (b) with lustrous, colours (Mattmalerei, Firnissmalerei). The first division is of less interest, is relatively small, and of greater antiquity. Examples of it occurred only in the deepest layers at Mycenae, and it is not generally found accompanying (b) in localities other than Mycenae itself. The decoration is painted in opaque colour, either on red or pale clay: in the former case the tints are violet-brown and red, and white is at times employed, while the surface is polished; in the latter only violet-brown is used, and there is no polishing. The ornaments sometimes show a close analogy to the metal-work which Dr. Schliemann found accompanying the pottery.

b) The introduction of lustrous colours is “a new factor in vase-making;” and is to all intents peculiar to Greek ceramics (including the pottery of peoples taught by Greece). Four different styles may be distinguished:--1. A small class, ground completely covered by black varnish, on which designs are painted in matt white or red. 2. The ground is supplied by a whitish or yellow-brown slip, the ornament painted in black-brown (lustrous). 3. A lustrous. warm-yellow surface is ornamented with paintings in all shades, from yellow to dark brown. 4. Similar but duller both in ground and lustre. Inner face of open vases treated with varnish-colour. Of these styles the third is the important one, and is the one almost solely represented outside the Argolid.

While the classification holds good, the conclusions based upon it by its authors are more open to objection. They found in the Mycenae ware the outcome of a civilisation pre-Dorian but not un-Greek, localised in and about Mycenae, which carried by the channels of trade its manufactures to all parts of the ancient world, so that “the Mycenaean pottery was as exclusively made in the Argolid as the later Attic ware at Athens, or the Corinthian at Corinth.” These positions have been, with good reason, often challenged; but an alternative theory has not yet received the stamp of general assent. In any case the problem of Mycenae is bound up with the greater problem of the Mycenaean culture in general as represented especially in its metal-work; and that culture has been variously traced to Phoenicia, Egypt, Crete, and Caria.

Two styles of ornament mark themselves out in “Mycenaean” pottery, and are indebted respectively to marine forms, and the conventions of metal-work, the former being especially in favour at Ialysos, the latter at Mycenae. Two shapes also are highly characteristic, the vase with a bow-form handle (Bügelkanne) and the cuttle-fish goblet: the first a general receptacle for water, wine, oil, and ointments; the latter a drinking cup, owing both form and ornament to the popularity, probably as great then as now, of a fish which is considered at once a peculiar delicacy and an excellent thirst-producer.

[For Mycenae ware, v. Furtwängler and Löschcke, Mykenische Thongefässe and Mykenische Vasen. A summary of the Mycenae controversy to date is given in the last chapter of Schuchhardt's Schliemann's Ausgrabungen.]

A small but most interesting class of early vases is that which imitates Phoenician glass. It is mainly represented by specimens obtained by Mr. George Dennis in 1882 from the tumuli of Bin-tepe near Sardis. The clay is painted with waved lines of the warmest orange and red, and is highly polished. Other imitations of glass ware have been found on different sites, and in Cyprus the style remains down to a comparatively late date.

In the Alambra and especially in the Mycenae pottery a new ornamental style is beginning to assert its claim to notice, the Geometric. Owing [p. 2.922]its origin very largely to the influence of technique in metal, from which it borrows many of its most characteristic members, like the concentric circle, spiral, maeander and cable, and rosette, it soon won independence and makes its first appearance,--in the Dipylon vases,--already a matured and established convention. That it attaches itself closely in point of development to the preceding Mycenae ware may seem established by the fact of its being found side by side with the third and fourth varieties of that style: but in reality there is, from a technical point of view, a very perceptible break between the two; the birth of the Geometric style is unknown, and it meets us first as a finished product which a long process of development must have preceded. This fact, coupled with a minute examination of formal style and the elements of ornamentation employed, has naturally suggested an origin in a manner foreign. Furtwängler and Löscheke would regard the Geometric principle in contrast to the Mycenae technique as Dorian compared with pre-Dorian: others, as Kroker (Jahrbuch, 1886, pp. 95 f.), have endeavoured to prove a close connexion with Egypt, others with Phoenicia or Ionia. (Older theory of the Geometric vases in Conze, Annali, 1877, p. 396 n.) The finest and most numerous specimens however come from Athens, especially from the neighbourhood of the Dipylon (whence the name given to this ware); and. a comparatively late oenochoe is marked as Attic by its inscription (Mitth. d. Ath. Inst. vi. Taf. 3). That Athens was the main seat of manufacture is practically certain, but this in no way excludes the question where the style first originated, a question which for the present remains open. Nor is the chronology of the Geometric style satisfactorily determined. It may have run its course for five or six centuries, and lasts in Greece proper down to the 6th cent. B.C. Limits of space make it impossible here to give a detailed account of the system of ornament: it will be enough to reproduce an example (fig. 3) which contains almost all the characteristic traits of its class, and to refer for specimens of the dateless conventionalised style to the collection from Cyprus in the British Museum (1 V. R.).

Attention should be specially drawn to the prevalence of forms of aquatic life, the limitation of range in the depicting of quadrupeds, and the introduction of scenes from daily life, among which funeral processions and sea-fights deserve most notice. Both matt and lustre colours are used, including red of all shades, brown, and black, while the ground is generally of a prepared tone, varying from the palest neutral stone to a deep red. Owing much to Orientalism in its first development, the Geometric style attained so high and lasting a popularity and became so purely conventional that it threatened to crush all life out of ceramic art, when salvation came by a new impulse from the East. Thenceforth two movements, conservative and progressive, manifested themselves. The great merit of the style lies in the training it gave the artist in sureness of hand and eye, and in the perfecting of shapes.

The pottery of Cyprus may here be briefly dismissed. Alambra ware, already treated, is in all probability genuinely archaic: absolute certainty is out of the question. Geometric style was early established, and soon drove all competitors from the field: it shows a special preference for concentric circles and aquatic life. The process of development is in a manner retrograde: the later the ware, the simpler and more purely geometric is its ornamentation. Upon an unvarying background of geometric forms foreign influences from time to time superimposed themselves, and vanished, in agreement with political conditions, and thus there came into existence an Egyptian-geometric, an Assyrian-geometric, a Persian-geometric, and, lastly, a Greek-geometric. Finally the style seems to die out about the end of the 4th century, although isolated specimens may go down even to Roman times. No group of vases is to be identified with the Phoenicians. There is no reason to believe that that people ever manufactured pottery to an appreciable extent; though they introduced the potter's wheel and other secrets of the craft from Egypt and Babylon. Pottery is alien to the spirit of their trade, which was concerned with articles of little bulk and high value. Still Phoenicia is responsible (a) for the introduction of certain Oriental forms (like the sacred tree); (b) for a more lasting Semitic flavour than the temporary dominion of successive conquerors would have imparted. Apart from the accidents of political necessity, identically the same style of ware remained in use for centuries: nor is there any particular reason for assigning a given vase to the end or the beginning of the period. [The report of the last excavations in Cyprus, Journ. Hell. Stud. 1890, may be consulted.]

The universal extension of Geometric style gave rise to many local varieties, and from this epoch begin fabrics classed, with greater or less justice, as imitative. Especially was this the case in Italy, the great market for vases, where native ceramic art now entered upon and maintained to the last a rivalry with Greek (continental) wares. It was once, through ignorance, the fashion to attribute all figured vases to Etruria; it is now, through over-subtlety, equally the fashion to attribute everything to Greece proper. By anticipation it may be said here that beside the distinct local Etruscan wares, so well represented at Florence, there were certainly other, and S. Italian Greek, imitations of later Corinthian and Attic pottery; but that these were not, virtually, contemporary with their prototypes, it is difficult to show. To have insisted on the possibly much wider scope of such imitative art, to have protested against the over-hasty generalisations now in vogue, is the great merit of Prof. Brunn; but his attempt to degrade so many figured vases to the level of late Italian imitations has mainly failed, resting as it does primarily on a mistaken view of the epigraphic evidence from vases.

In the Geometric style--to return from this brief digression--new tendencies soon appear. A small class of vases, named after the place of discovery Phaleron, embraces a series of jugs (olpae) of a peculiar shape, having a narrow body, an extremely high and broad neck, and a trefoil lip. Though not differing in technique from the Dipylon class, these vases introduce new features in the characteristic label ornament of the neck, in a manner of filling the field which is prophetic of later Rhodian style, [p. 2.923]above all in the employment of new animal types and their treatment, both in design and grouping, on Oriental models. The reaction which manifests itself first in the Phaleron ware soon spread widely, giving birth to an era of transition. Another group of Attic vases shows the same tendency: the finest of them is the Hymettos amphora, No. 56 in the Berlin Antiquarium. Characteristic of the new method as shown in this vase is the heraldic grouping of combatants in pairs. A like process was at work in the islands, especially at Melos and Rhodes. A small class of amphorae (it contains three and a fragment) was early set apart by Conze and named by him “Melian.” Though the claim of the vases to a separate title has been disputed, convenience at least has sufficed for its retention. Tile Melian ware is later in development than much of the Rhodian, but it stands first here because of its far closer connexion with the Dipylon style, as shown in the range of geometric ornaments which still fill the field, and in the manner of rendering the human animal forms as in the spirit of the grouping. There are many features hitherto unknown in these Melian amphorae, and the admixture of Oriental style and design is especially obvious; but these details may be best considered under the heading of Rhodes.

[For Phaleron vases v. Dumont et Chaplain, Les Céramiques, pp. 101 ff.; Böhlau, Jahrbuch, 1887, pp. 44 f.: Hymettos amphora, Furtwängler, Beschreib. der Vasen S. . . . zu Berlin, No. 56: Melos vases, Conze, Melische Thongefässe.]

Vase--painting then has reached the point at which the tide of Orientalism, whose rising has been noted in the transition style beginning with Phaleron, swells into full flood. Rhodes indeed can show examples of the entire process: but it is with the triumph of the Oriental style that the island pottery is specially associated. While under its influence the vase-painter evolved a system of decoration effective and of true beauty, the potter condensed the earlier

Fig. 3. Vase from Curium in Cyprus. (Cesnola, pl. xxix.)

multiplicity of forms to a few simple and elegant types, the most characteristic among which is an oenochoe, resembling that in the next cut. Almost equally characteristic is the pinax, [p. 2.924]while amphora and cylix are taking shape; and, as the Oriental style waxes to its zenith, the alabastos--which may conceivably be a

Fig. 4. Oenochoe. (Birch.)

Naucratis invention-and the aryballos come to the front and are the favourite shapes at Corinth. [ALABASTRUM; ARYBALLUS.] But whereas the types of oenochoe, pinax, alabastos, and aryballos are created in the Oriental school, those of the amphora and cylix are only sketched.

Two alien arts exerted a special influence over the birth of the new style, textiles--in particular, embroidery--and metal-work. Thus the scheme of ornament on a Rhodian pinax is comparable to the unit of a brocaded pattern with the threads of the under-web left projecting; and Corinthian designs reproduce the continuous texture and involved lines of close embroidery: while on the other hand the choice of rosettes and anthemia, the alternation of purple and red with a brown-black, the employment of incised lines for details, display a connexion with metal-work. Both arts impel the painter towards polychromy.

Painting at first, like the artists of the Transition, with brown-black varnish on a plain polished ground, Rhodian potters founded a new method when they effected a combination of silhouette and outline-drawing, and left the light parts in ground-colour. Light and shade, discrimination of planes of surface, become thereby possible. A fresh step in advance is made when the red clay is covered throughout with a dull cream-white engobe which can be used to represent flesh-colour with more fidelity to nature. Then white and a new red tint are employed to mark details and differences of surface, and are generally laid on in broad unbroken masses. A more minute discrimination of details but a less spirited and less free conception marks a yet further advance in technique, which is signalised by the use of purple colour and the rendering of outlines and details by incised lines.

These differences in technique allow Rhodian ware to be divided into two main classes, which have been named “Dorian” ( “Egyptian” ) and “Assyrian.” The former exhibits a less conventional style, more freedom in the choice of animal types, and among the ornaments with which in this, as in all Rhodian ware, the field is sown, a preference for those of a geometric class and for the Egyptian lotus: the latter practically admits no animals but the lion, bull, and goat, is more distinctly Oriental in its forms, and loves to crowd the field with rosettes. The former again employs white and red for details, but retains outline drawing; the latter alone uses incised lines and purple. In the one a metope arrangement is frequent, and is often forced; in the other, where it occurs, it is only in the modified form of an Assyrian blazon, two animals facing one another and separated by the sacred tree.

Taking Rhodian pottery as a whole, the subjects are drawn almost entirely from the animal creation. Beast forms, the goat, lion, bull, boar, ram, &c.--the first two in overwhelming preponderance--occupy most of the vases: an apparently later group admits further the human figure, and compound shapes like the Sphinx. In this later group one vase stands out from among its fellows. This is the well-known Euphorbos pinax, whose importance lies not only in the fact that it is the first instance in which a definite scene--Menelaos and Hector fight over Euphorbos--from a definite source (the Epos) is represented, but because being inscribed with the heroes' names it furnishes other material for a date than that drawn from internal evidence of style. Kirchhoff has thus been enabled to place this vase at the end of the 7th century, and this fixes with approximate certainty the lower limit of the Rhodian period (v. Studien zur Gesch. d. griech. Alph.).

It is unnecessary here to discuss the doubts which have been thrown on the claim of Rhodes to be the actual manufacturer of the pottery classed under her name. Other things being equal, the principle is fairly trustworthy that a particular style is native in the place where it is most abundantly found. It is sufficient to refer to the treatment of these and similar questions in e.g. Egypt Explor. Fund Memoirs, Naukratis, pts. i. and ii.; Jour. Hell. Stud. 1885, pp. 180 ff. [For Rhodian ware in general, v. A. S. Murray in Revue Archéol., Dec. 1882, pp. 342 ff.; Dumont et Chaplain, Les Céramiques, s. v.; Salzmann, Nécropole de Camiros, for illustrations.]

There is a small class of vases of a peculiar type found in Rhodes, at Naucratis, and in Etruria, to which it has been proposed to give the name “Polledrara,” after the large hydria of the British Museum. The distinctive trait of this class is the clay, which is black throughout, and contains numerous particles of mica. The designs are painted in scarlet and purple, and occasionally blue. The origin of the ware is disputed; Naucratis, Lesbos, Rhodes, and Etruria being all suggested as the seat of its manufacture.

Closely resembling this group in material,, but very distinct in point of ornament, are the [p. 2.925]early Italian vases, the so-called Bucchero. Dull and rough in appearance at first, like the brown ware which accompanies them, the Italian vases in their more developed state are of lustrous black pottery, with ornaments and scenes moulded in relief from the actual clay of the vase, the Bucchero properly so named. The distinctive feature is the evident attempt to imitate as closely as possible a bronze original: whence both colour and polish, moulding of ornament in relief as though embossed, and treatment of lip and handles.

[Examples illustrated by Micali, Monumenti Inediti; Dennis, Etruria.]

The polychromatic style, whose commencement has already been seen in Rhodes, reaches its highest development at Naucratis. So cosmopolitan a town (Hdt. 2.178) must have brought together all kinds of styles in ceramics, and the absence therefore of geometric, not to mention Mycenae, pottery is to be noted as significant of the stage of vase-painting contemporary with the existence of Naucratis, a town which first became powerful under Amasis, and was ruined under Cambyses (roughly 580-520 B.C.). This furnishes a limit of exclusion for the earlier classes of pottery, a limit which may, according to Mr. Petrie, be pushed further back--to about 650 B.C.--as the oldest remains of the settlement are considerably prior to Amasis. But among the various sorts of earthenware found at Naucratis one group marks itself off as a local fabric; as is proved by a dedication--to the “Aphrodite of Naucratis” --which has been scratched in the clay before firing (see Journ. Hell. Stud. viii. p. 119). The ware shows a close connexion with, but also a distinct advance upon, that of Rhodes. An opaque white engobe is used, of a tint generally brighter than, but sometimes approaching, that of Kameiros; on this engobe a design is painted in colour, and the technique follows, but extends, that combination of outline and silhouette which Rhodes had introduced. New colours, copied from the Egyptian wall-paintings, are employed, especially a light sienna and an umber red, the latter being a flesh tint for male figures. For female figures flake white is added to the engobe. Each of the chief colours appears in various shades; and the distinction of flesh tints so carefully worked out in Egyptian painting reappears, but after a more haphazard fashion, in Naucratis ware. The most advanced technique in use at Naucratis traces outlines in light sienna and fills in the silhouette with an umber tint.

[For Naucratis pottery, v. Memoirs of Egypt Exploration Fund, Naukratis, pt. 1.1884-5, and pt. 2.1888.]

* Vases with dedications are especially frequent at Naucratis. Pottery was largely used in temple service, and was then marked with the name of the divinity. Numerous similarly inscribed fragments have been found on the Athenian Acropolis.

The excavations at Naucratis produced among other things fragments of the ware known as Cyrenaic; and on the strength of this fact the claim of Cyrene to be the maker of the pottery, often disputed before, has been anew called in question. No sufficient reason has, however, as yet been adduced for disregarding the evidence furnished by the best-known Cyrene vase, the Arcesilas cylix, with its strong local colouring. The ware, too, is strikingly metallic in style; and it is not, as Puchstein maintains, to the Cypro-Phoenician, but to the Carthaginian paterae that a debt is due. An artistic connexion of this sort with Carthage is more probable in Cyrene than in Naucratis.

The class is not numerous, but highly distinctive. Its favourite shape is the cylix, which thus takes definite rank in the development of vase-painting: but the hydria, deinos, and amphora also occur. A ground-surface is given by a dull smooth slip of light stone colour; and on this the design is painted in black with purple as a subsidiary colour, all main lines and inner details being scratched in. Subjects include mythology and genre;--though not its first appearance, for we have noticed it already in Dipylon ware for example, genre becomes here first of historic interest:--and with much of helplessness in drawing there is decided feeling and often spirit in the scenes. Zones of animals, in particular an aquatic bird, are still retained, and beast and bird forms serve to fill the field in a manner which seems directly borrowed from the bronze paterae already mentioned. Lip and handle, and, in the cylices, stem and foot, are covered with black varnish, a noteworthy change. Mechanical ornament is exceptionally rich.

[The Cyrene vases are put together by Puchstein, Arch. Zeit. 1881, pp. 215 ff.: they are exceptionally well represented in the British Museum, 1 V. R. Latest discussion, Ath. Mitth. 1886, pp. 90 ff.]

With Corinthian ware Orientalism reaches its zenith. Earlier however than Corinthian ware properly so called is a group of vases--almost without exception diminutive lekythoi of a peculiar shape, and two-handled cups--which from their wide distribution must have had as general, as they had a lasting, vogue. As these little vases, by far the finest specimen of which has lately been presented to the British Museum, show a very close connexion with the Corinthian, but also points of difference, and seem moreover to be earlier, they have been named Protocorinthian. Like the Cyrenaic, they too owe much in technique and style to Phoenician metal-work. The clay is a fine, clear yellow; the decoration consists mainly of zones of animals, but admits also human figures; an elaborate ornament, composed of the anthemion and lotus, resembling that which subsequently becomes characteristic at Corinth, makes its appearance; and the field, though in general less encumbered, is sown with rosettes. The colours vary from a red-brown to black.

The vast class of vases which groups itself under the name Corinthian was long treated as the oldest Greek ware. The surface in this ware is often so crowded with ornament, that at a few feet of distance the ground-colour cannot be distinguished, and the general effect to the eye, due at once to colour and design, is that of a rich Oriental brocade. This is especially true of earlier specimens, whose subjects, fantastic fish-tailed monsters for example, seem to have been directly chosen for their fitness to cover most space. A like feeling has brought the alabastos [p. 2.926]into peculiar favour. The ground is a clear yellow; the painting in black (often brown, thanks to over-firing), with details in purple and red; while an extreme fondness for incised lines marks the group as a whole. Subjects at first are mainly animals--where possible in friezes--and monsters, the panther and certain winged shapes being characteristic. Often too a vase, especially if an aryballos, is decorated solely by an elaborate anthemion ornament. [Most of the principal shapes are illustrated in Birch, p. 1961, gives cuts mostly of protocorinthian ware.] In the later group human figures become

Fig. 5. Cover of the Dodwell vase, with boar-hunt. (Birch.)

increasingly frequent, and occasionally scenes from ordinary life, or from mythology, appear. An example (fig. 5) is here reproduced from Birch,--the lid of the famous Dodwell vase. In technique there is no change of moment.

Before the growing sense that human action is the vase-painter's true subject, Orientalism begins to give way: yet the old tradition lingers in the animal shapes which, having no direct relation to the main subject, still encumber the field. The reform is due to the rise of a new school, whose representative is the potter Timonidas, known also by the plaques of the Akrokorinthos [FICTILE The Achilles vase, Berlin Cat. 846]. A second master was Chares (Arch. Zeit. 1864, Taf. 184). This section of Corinthian ware should be especially compared with the previously mentioned Cyrenaic group. The face is generally rendered in silhouette, sometimes in outline, and gradually a practice grows up of distinguishing the faces of female figures by white colour applied directly to the ground. From its first adoption white grew rapidly in favour at Corinth. The duration of this class is fixed by the inscriptions for the 7th-6th centuries B.C.

Yet a later class of Corinthian ware shows the evidence of a strong foreign influence, probably that of Athens. The smaller types previously in vogue disappear, and their place is taken by large vases like the amphora, heavy in form and with ring handles, the hydria, and so-called vaso a colonnette [CRATER]. The clay ground becomes redder, lustre-varnish often replaces the hitherto usual matt colour, white is more largely employed, the field nearly freed of foreign elements, and animals relegated to a separate zone below the main scene. Horsemen and quadrigae are favourite subjects. The fine Berlin vase of “the setting out of Amphiaraos” will serve as an example (Furtwängler, Beschreib. 1655).

This last development of Corinthian pottery recalls the history of classical ceramic art to Athenian soil, and henceforth we are concerned almost solely with Athens. But before dealing with Athenian ware proper, some sidegroups merit notice; and one, the Chalcidian, is of exceptional importance. Unfortunately the group, first recognised as Chalcidian through the alphabet of its inscriptions, is as yet vaguely defined. [V. Pottier ap. Dumont et Chaplain, Les Céramiques, pp. 276 ff.; or Klein, Euphronios, pp. 65 if.; and contrast Brunn, Probleme, in Abhandl. d. kgl. bay. Akad., Bd. xii. pt. ii., pp. 113 ff.] It is even maintained that the greater part are late S. Italian imitations (Brunn, l.c.; and Id. Abhandl. Bd. xviii. pt. i.). Certainly the free and spirited rendering, the knowledge here shown of the laws of painting, on vases of, as is assumed, so early a fabric, are ground for surprise. The class consists almost entirely of amphorae of a distinctive type (see fig. 6); and is the first to make that type of vase its specialty. As concerns style, the free-grouping without regard to a fixed centre, the élan and picturesqueness of conception, and, as to details, the plain long girt chiton of the women, fitting so closely as to reveal each contour of the body, and the peculiar ornament on the neck of the vase, are all alike characteristic.

Fig. 6 Chalcidian amphora. (Gerhard.)

Purple is richly used, incised lines employed with great skill, white less frequently. [p. 2.927]

Of other Ionian fabrics so little has as yet been determined that it will suffice here to remark their preference for a frieze-like system of decoration, a more pictorial treatment, and a tendency to polychromy. One large class of amphorae has long been known as Tyrrhenian [AMPHORA The body of the vase is generally more slender than the cut there given from Dennis]. It is distinguished by its shape, its zones of animals, the peculiar ornament--an alternation of maeanders with an 8-rayed star--which separates the animal frieze from the main scene on the shoulder, and by its prodigal use of colours other than black. The origin of these vases is doubtful: all examples hitherto have been found in Etruria, but they are certainly not of local make: Dümmler thinks them “Pontic” (Röm. Mitth. 1887, pp. 171 ff., Taf. 8, 9).

One or two vases survive which represent Boeotian style of this period; but they are too few in number to allow of general criticism. Being so few, however, it is curious that among them occur the names of two artists, Gamedes and Theozotos. The Caeretan hydriae are more numerous, better known, and equally distinctive. They exhibit an important change in technique. White and subsidiary colours are no longer painted directly on to the ground-clay, but are laid over the black varnish. Red and white are freely used, the latter sometimes as a flesh-tint for men: incised lines are frequent and are firmly drawn. As the side handles of a hydria necessarily interrupt a frieze, the decoration is here divided into groups, and that on the reverse is made of less account. The rendering is characterised by an almost reckless freedom, and shows traces of what is very rare in Greek work, humour. As a whole they are comparatively late. Their origin is disputed: Brunn, against general opinion, holds to Helbig's original view (since abandoned by its author) that they are of Etruscan fabric. [Helbig, Annali, 1863, pp. 210 ff.; Brunn, l.c.; Dumont et Chaplain (Pottier), pp. 264 ff.]

From the 7th century B.C. to the end of the 4th Athenian pottery reigns almost without a rival. It has two epochs, the black-figure and the red-figure, united to each other by a period of transition and experiment. With the exception of the two or three classes of ware just previously described, and some few imitative fabrics, the great mass of black-figure pottery hails from Athens. Two vase-shapes are especially in vogue in this ware, amphorae and hydriae, the former greatly preponderating: both are rapidly perfected in form. [The evolution of the amphora may be followed on p. 1973 of Baumeister's Denkmäler. The hydria improves as its centre of gravity mounts and the shoulder-scene shallows and widens.] A new discovery contributed to the rapid advance of Athenian ceramics;--a deep-black varnish of the highest brilliancy, with a surface like polished metal, insensible to ordinary reagents, but not interfering with that porousness of the clay which under a Greek sun is so necessary for the coolness of water or wine. Its manufacture is still a secret: nor is it known where the invention first saw the light. So popular did it immediately become that the vase-painter covered the whole surface with it, leaving as field for the actual picture only a square panel of red ground-colour--that of the natural clay heightened by adding a little rubrica.1 Not all potters, however, followed this plan, and subsequently there was something of a reaction. Thus two groups come to be distinguished,--vases which have a panel-field, and those which, though generally marking off reverse from obverse, admit all space between the two handles. as ground for the painter. No real difference of technique follows this division. In both the artist first draws his outlines with a full brush of black, fills in the silhouette, and then adds details with the point or with strokes of white and purple-red: but perhaps the panel-painter uses less subsidiary colours and trusts more to careful graving. Always, however, it is rather a question of idiosyncrasy; and the polychromy of some of the later vases is a reaction due to a particular school imbued with a fondness for metallic effects. It is with the masters of black-figure style that the point first comes adequately to express the lines of musculature and bodily form. The rendering of drapery is a mark of relative date. At first the chiton is a straight daub of colour, as in Corinthian ware, and is often purple in hue with perhaps a black girdle: then patterns are scratched in, or elaborately painted on with white: folds begin to be marked, are outlined with the point, and dress gives some hint of the underlying contour of the body. An alternate use of purple and black for the folds is occasionally carried so far as to express light and shade. A like use of purple is to be seen in the treatment of muscles in animals, especially the horse. White is throughout a flesh-tint for female figures, but is also employed, on later vases, for the long chiton of a charioteer and the grey hair of old men.

Drawing is almost entirely in profile: full-face is scarcely rendered with more adroitness than was shown already in the François vase. The eyes of men remain large and round, of women oval and small. In more recent vases a trick grows up of crowding the field with long, purely conventional ivy sprays: equally conventional in rendering are the landscape features sometimes introduced, and no attempt is made at pictorial perspective. Excellence of drawing is seldom a sufficient criterion of date.

The subjects of vases become now of less importance for their general history. In black-figure ware they are mainly mythological, sometimes genre. In mythology the Dionysiac cycle and the feats of Herakles are by far most frequent; after them, the legends of Athena and Hermes. Frequently as scenes from the Epic appear, scarcely any can be traced to the Iliad or Odyssey.

Ornament, as distinct from painted scenes, becomes stereotyped. Almost always the neck of an amphora shows a design of lotus and anthemion hooped together by a cable pattern: dentals unite neck to shoulder: below the field are two zones, the upper a maeander, the lower continuous lotus buds: from the foot shoot up the rays--which since Rhodian pottery have held their own. For a hydria, ivy tendrils or chequers border the sides, a running anthemion the bottom, of the field; below which sometimes [p. 2.928]an archaistic feeling has restored the Corinthian frieze of animals, but has restored it purely as an ornamental finish.

The different schools of black-figure ware have yet to be recognised: those that are known are, for the most part, concerned with either the commencement or the end of this style and its transition into red-figure. Early enough to be somewhat isolated is the first Athenian master-piece, the François vase of Florence, in itself an Epos. Early also, as is shown by shape, by style of painting, and by arrangement of subject, are a group of amphorae which, from their close connexion with Corinthian ware, are known as Corintho-Attic. Characteristic are their zones of animals; which have often caused them to be confounded in one class with the “Tyrrhenian” (see above). A different fundamentum divisionis has served to mark off the Panathenaic amphorae [AMPHORA]; which last through the black-figure, and even to the end of the red-figure, period. The archaism of the figure of Athena on the obverse becomes in time a pure convention, the reverse reflecting contemporary style. Many specimens seem never to have been given at the games, and are simply show-plate. Less numerous and of peculiarly elongated form, are the Prothesis-amphorae--vases used in the burial service, and with subjects drawn mainly from its liturgy. The finest examples belong to the later red-figure ware.

[François vase, Mon. dell' Inst. 4.545-7; Corintho-Attic, Loschcke, Arch. Zeit. 1876; Panathenaic, Urlichs, Beiträge, pp. 33 ff.]

Much care was spent by masters of the black-figure style on the evolution of the cylix. That this type was in vogue at Cyrene has been already noted, as also that it had acquired a developed shape and style of decoration. The processes at Athens and Cyrene are parallel, and not widely sundered in date, but have little or no influence on one another. The oldest cylices at Athens have that shape with off-set lip, which derives from Rhodes through Corinth. The alteration in form which follows [see under CALIX] is closely connected with changes in the mode of ornamentation. The early cylix having a deep bowl is decorated in frieze fashion; and of the several zones into which the surface is divided by the potter, only one is chosen by the painter. Then comes a new idea: on the lip are drawn tiny groups or animal shapes, each side having a couple of figures, or, more often, one only. The zone below is occupied by inscriptions, the artist's signature or a χαῖρε καὶ πρέ εὖ. This group of vases is known as “Klein-meister.” Their strongly metallic appearance proves their indebtedness to foreign influence, communicated through Rhodes. Another experiment is probably the work of the artist Exekias (or, according to some, of Nicosthenes). He uses a shallower vase without off-set lip, and revives the “sacred-eye” ornament previously in favour at Rhodes and Naucratis: making this suffice for the centre, he places the actual scene under and about the two handles. “Eye” vases had a considerable success; but gradually the handles come to be treated as the natural limits of the field, and, the bowl becoming continually broader and shallower, while off-set lips disappear, decoration spreads over the whole outer surface. The inside remains a difficulty. Earlier artists neglected it altogether, or painted only a small medallion in the centre. But fashion wavered to and fro; sometimes the whole inner surface is ornamented with a complete scene and the outside is less regarded; sometimes a medallion is preferred. Especially to be noted are the cylices which have a Gorgoneion for their medallion; for they may first have suggested a new style, which, while the vase is covered with a black ground varnish, leaves the actual figures in the original clay-tint,--as it were, in intaglio.

The cylix class is exceptionally fruitful in artists' signatures. Ergotimos and Klitias, who made and painted the great François crater, were followed by Nearchos, whose sons Tleson and Ergoteles, with Ergotimos' son Eucheiros, have signed many of the earlier cylices. Other names are Xenocles, Hermogenes, Archicles, &c. In amphorae Exekias takes first place for spirited and careful drawing: Amasis carries nicety of detail almost to extravagance: Hischylos represents transition style.

[For signed vases, early and late, for the characteristics of the great schools, and the questions which group themselves round them, the reader is referred once for all to Klein‘s two important works, Die griechischen Vasen mit Meistersignaturen and Euphronios.]

By far the most prolific maker is Nicosthenes, a clever entrepreneur who tried experiment after experiment to hit popular taste. Already an introducer of one new fashion in cylices, he is perhaps best known by a group of small amphorae of very peculiar form (fig. 7). The

Fig. 7. Amphora of Nicosthenes. (Genick, Taf. iv.)

strange flat handles of his amphorae are by a new process made of one piece with the vase. Nicosthenes is a master of the metallic style; but his work distinguishes itself by a plumpness and naïceté all his own. A doubt has indeed [p. 2.929]been more than once expressed whether Nicosthenes was an Athenian; and the finding a signed fragment of one of his vases at Naucratis may suggest, whatever his provenance, the source whence many of his novel departures were inspired (Mem. Eg. Expl. Fund, Naucratis, pt. i. p. 53). With him too is associated the prevalence, though not the introduction, of yet another technique, in which black figures are painted on a white engobe ground; a technique less new in Greek pottery than novel at Athens. This group is confined to the smaller vases, oenochoae, alabastoi, above all lekythoi. The style does not differ from that usual in black-figure ware; but here, as in the metallic class, a love for nicety, exact finish, and vivid lustre makes itself prominent. It is the triumph of the ornamental school. A peculiarity should be noted in the lekythoi. While the main field is covered by a white engobe, neck and shoulder are left in the natural clay: no difference however is made in decoration, except that the shoulder is left to mechanical ornament. In all vases of the class lip and foot are black. [For Nicosthenes, Klein, op. cit.; and Löschcke, Arch. Zeit. 1881, pp. 33 ff.]

Nicosthenes is a typical figure. The epoch in Athenian pottery we have now reached--roughly speaking, 500 B.C.--is an epoch of transition and experiment. The vase-painter's art struggles in the throes of a revolution. Process after process is tried and rejected, until at last one style emerges from the chaos, and triumphs as rapidly as completely over all rivals. Many relics of the struggle remain; vases which show the two styles conflicting on obverse and reverse, inner or outer, ornament and scene. The final perfecting of early red--figure technique is marked by the name of Epiktetos: among his chief predecessors of the transition may be named Hischylos and Pamphaios. Precise evidence for the origin and date of red-figure ware is wanting: it seems however to have begun about 500 B.C. (some writers think even under the tyranny of the Peisistratidae), and to have owed its development to the influence of high art. A close connexion may perhaps be supposed with the improvements in painting introduced at this time by Cimon of Cleonae (Pliny, Plin. Nat. 35.56). While hitherto Greek ceramic art must, on its formal side, be placed under the heading “ornament,” from this point it becomes a branch of painting. The great group of artists who inaugurate the new style are proud of their mission, and spare no pains to perfect what they began.

Among vase-forms it is the cylix which is peculiarly the favourite of earlier red-figure painters: its use in fact is a party-badge. Though the new technique had triumphed, it was opposed by a strong conservatism, which, while adopting the new style of painting, clung to old shapes like the amphora and to old traditions in the matter of field and ornament. To this tendency we owe some very beautiful examples of red-figure amphorae, of greater elegance of form, and ornamented with only one figure--sometimes a pair of figures--a side. Among the more advanced types of this class is the “Nolan” amphora. [See AMPHORA] After the cylix, and to some degree succeeding it, come the stamnos and psycter [see PSYCTER; STAMNUS], which are peculiar to the earlier period: with them, but outlasting them, and continuing in favour to very late times, is the CRATER At first the handles are placed low down and the form resembles a cup; then, as its sides become straighter, a chalice; lastly, the handles are brought on to the shoulder, and the vase is shaped like an inverted bell. This campaniform crater was adopted also by later S. Italian manufacturers. After 400 B.C. obverse and reverse are more sharply distinguished; the latter being ornamented in a purely conventional manner with three drapery figures (Mantelfiguren).

Technique, in red-figure ware, is simple. On a red ground clay, like that of the black-figure ware, the scene is outlined in freehand with broad strokes of a full brush of black varnish over a tracing lightly made with a fine point; the rest of the surface is covered with an even layer of the same colour, and details of organic form and folds of drapery are painted in with a fine pencil, also in black. Details are sometimes given with red colour; in later examples this tint is confined to the musculature, which is better rendered by a shade scarcely standing out from the red ground on which it is painted. Gilding appears towards the close of the so-called “strong” style, and about the same time an attempt is made at polychromy. (Cf. the beautiful Pandora cylix in the British Museum.) But polychromy is soon confined, in the period of finest style, to smaller vases, lekythoi, pyxides, and alabastoi, in sympathy with a more developed taste. [For plastic additions, see under FICTILE]

Throughout a steady advance in draughtsmanship, contrasting with the conventionalism of black-figure ware, is to be observed. In the school of Epictetos a simple broad treatment, with few or no details of organism, is in vogue; a treatment suited to the subjects then in favour, scenes from palaestra, banquets, and the life of hetaerae. There follows a period in which, while simplicity and strength of drawing and grouping remain, details--as of drapery--are fully rendered, but with inadequate success. Among these earlier artists, whose style is known as “strong” or “severe,” Euthymides is of conservative tendency; Duris careful and studied, but somewhat wanting in originality; Euphronios and Brygos represent its most perfect form. A wonderful variety of motif, pose, and grouping is attained,--a variety reflected from the subjects where legends of Attic heroes like Theseus, scenes from Epic and even from Lyric have replaced the older crowd of athletes, revellers, and courtesans. But grace and natural truth are still largely wanting: the face is still drawn almost solely in profile, or where full is scarcely successful: foreshortening is rarely attempted: eyes are drawn in full when the face is in side view. The year 430 B.C. may be taken as nearly representing the time of transition from earlier “strong” to later “fine” style. Vase-painting undoubtedly owed most of its progress to a close relation with high art: but this relation, as concerns details, is as yet very incompletely explained. The chief debt must have been to painting, though earlier critics insisted rather on a connexion with sculpture. Above all must be ranked the influence of Polygnotus: yet it remains difficult. [p. 2.930]to lay a finger on direct traces of it. The earliest instance is a two-handled cup, representing the Slaying of the Suitors (Mon. dell' Inst. 10.53): and the relation of this vase to Polygnotus' frescoes at Delphi can now be established through comparison with the Gjölbaschi reliefs. Another example is on a cup from Chiusi, showing the washing of Odysseus' feet and Telemachus in the presence of Penelope (Schreiber, Bilderatlas, Taf. 63, 3). But neither vase can be earlier than 400 B.C., as is evident, restrained as the style is, from the figures of Penelope and the suitor wounded in the back. The influence of Polygnotus and his school seems at first to have been restricted to effecting improvements in motif and drawing: it is only with the great age of painting in the 4th century that vases begin really to reflect the higher art. To this period then, and not to the time of Polygnotus, should be assigned such changes as the rendering of figures in back view, the distinction of background and; foreground, transparency of drapery, different tones of colour to express light and shade, and the upgrowth of polychromy. [A comparatively early example of direct influence of high art upon the vase-painter is the beautiful Kamiros amphora (pelike) of the British Museum: note especially the fleeing nymph in middle distance, and the use of blue, gold, and white.--For other views on the connexion between ceramic art and the great schools of painting, v. Winter, Die jüngere att. Vasen, and papers in Jahrbuch, 1887, by Winter, Dümmler, and Studniczka.]

From 430 B.C. onwards the vase-artist rapidly attains perfect command over material and instruments. He no longer shrinks, with the timidity of ignorance, from the more difficult motifs: with full-face, three-quarter face, and profile he is equally familiar. Boisterous strength yields to the grace, charm, and refinement of the family circle. We are introduced to the inner life of Athens, its pleasures, pastimes, and foibles, as well as to its deeper sentiments. It is the reign of Aphrodite and Eros. For Epic the painter gives us the drama. Fashion and luxury are mirrored in the gauze-like drapery with its wealth of embroidery, in the jewels of the women, the modishness of the men. The human figure is no longer swathed in the full folds of Ionic dress; transparent silk replaces the heavier linen robes. Action is dramatic and pictorial; motifs are studied from sculpture and painting. The deities who are presented are those of music, love, song, and revel, Fauns of the woods, Naiads of the sea, or Bacchantes from Dionysus' train.;

Standing somewhat away from the red-figure vases, but contemporary with all but the earliest, is the polychrome ware with white ground. The great majority of this class are lekythoi,2 but pyxides and alabastoi of similar technique also occur, though not among the earliest examples. As the finest and most important specimens are lekythoi, it will suffice to confine this account to them, merely adding that the pyxides also make free use of gilding, which does not appear on lekythoi, and that their subjects are generally those of the gynaeconitis. Two sorts of clay are used, a pale-red and a grey-black, the former being thinner and more fine. Over the clay a white engobe is laid, covering the body and often the shoulder; neck, lip, and foot are in black varnish. The white is laid on first, and possibly while the vase revolves on the wheel. On this white surface a sketch in simplest outline is made with a fine brush of greyish or bluish colour; sometimes, as in most red-figure vases, it is faintly traced with a point. This sketch is then lined in, in monochrome, with black, yellow, or red: and the same tint is employed for folds of drapery as for the outline. Nude figures are rare: a false impression of nudity is conveyed by the loss of strokes which once indicated dress. It is a matter of taste with the individual artist whether the broad surfaces of drapery are coloured in: later examples show careful shading of the dress, and flesh-tints are in a few cases employed, varying according to the person represented. Ornament is only used on the shoulder, but a maeander pattern regularly forms a frame to the top of the field, very rarely appearing below: in one case impressed patterns, ovoles, are found (on an oenochoe). The shoulder may be either red (ground-colour), black, or white: the latter colour greatly preponderates, and. alone occurs in the most flourishing period. Colours are all opaque, with exception of sienna (when used for outlines), and black: the range is a large one, and includes red of all shades, from carmine to brown, blue, violet, green, yellow, both chrome and ochre, brown and black. Klein (Euphronios, p. 97) thinks that they were applied in encaustic. [PICTURA]

Three classes of lekythoi may be distinguished:--(a Figures generally in red or sienna: subjects entirely funereal: polychromy sober and restrained: style fine. (b) Figures in black or brown: subjects generally funereal, but sometimes drawn from family life, the pantheon, or even mythology: polychromy brilliant and often directly pictorial: style fine. (c) Figures in yellow: shoulder without engobe: painting almost always monochrome: style decadent, often careless. (For lekythoi, v. E. Pottier, Étude sur les Lecythes blancs attiques.

Contemporary with the whole of the red-figure and probably with a great part of the black-figure period, are vases simply covered with a lustrous black varnish. In the 4th century these vases become of more importance, are ornamented with gilding, and here and there a figure in polychrome. The majority are moulded, and therefore fall under plastic [FICTILE]: many shapes are of great beauty. Equally to plastic belong vases in the shape of human heads, and, though less decisively, the rhyta. [RHYTON] Plastic, too, is a group which appears in the latter half of the 4th century, and contains vases formed of human busts modelled in terracotta, surmounted by the neck of a lekythos. Occasionally the vase is more complete, and a plastic figure or group is merely laid upon it. Painting is polychrome. This class is the predecessor of the modelled Capuan ware. [TERRACOTTA.]

The question of mechanical ornament in red-figure ware may be very briefly dismissed. Its principal use is to supply the ground-line of a scene or to give a finish to certain parts, especially [p. 2.931]the joints of a vase, as the lip, union of shoulder and neck, or handles. Conservatism accounts, for the not infrequent retention of an ornamental frame to the fields of hydria and amphora: under the handles of early cylices, and especially under those of the stamnos, appear elaborate anthemia. The forms almost solely in use are the maeander, running anthemion, lotos and anthemion, laurel-wreath; the latter of which is invariable on-campaniform craters.

The manufacture of red-figure vases ceased in Greece proper about the time of Alexander, and is now transferred to S. Italy. There is no sudden change: in this, as in all periods of Greek ceramic art, the various distinctive styles overlap, and those which, like Geometric or Corinthian, had an especial vogue, even outlasted their immediate successors. There had always existed in Italy native schools of ceramic, but so powerful had been the influence of pure Greek style, so completely had the fabrics of Corinth and Athens secured and kept the market, that with a partial exception in favour of Etruria, none of the Italian potteries ventured more than an imitation of the products of continental Greece. With the opening of the Hellenistic age, however, art becomes provincial; and as sculpture and painting passed to Pergamon and Rhodes and Alexandria, so Magna Graecia inherited the potter's craft. No new world-wide trade, like that of Athens, no important novelty in technique, marked the transference. Although Apulia produced amphorae: and crateres of great outward splendour, the decadence of style, which had already begun at Athens, is painfully apparent. Men sought to add fresh life to a waning industry by inventing giant vases and richer shapes, by bringing. into play all the resources of polychromy, and even summoning plastic to their aid; but profuse ornament and gaudy colouring scarcely cloak bad drawing and bad taste; Yet the artists had a pride in their work, and signatures, rare since the end of the “strong” style, again occur, though, it is true, in no great number.r Two traits are characteristic:--(a) The strict relation maintained on most examples between the use of the vase for, service at the tomb and its decoration (either a scene of offerings at the tomb, or an appropriate myth): and--where the subject is not funereal--(b) the frequent borrowing from the stage (farces especially), and the rendering of other than dramatic scenes with dramatic accessories (cf. Heydemann, Jahrbuch, 1886, pp. 260 ff.).

Three separate S. Italian fabrics may be distinguished, Lucanian, Campanian, Apulian. The technique in all is that of red-figure ware. Each class exhibits a peculiarity in depicting the human figure, a peculiarity suggestive of difference of social type: each, too, introduces details of national costume.

Lucanian vases may be relatively somewhat older; at least their manufacture seems to have sooner come to an end. Though somewhat helpless in draughtmanship, their style is comparatively restrained; polychromy is little used, and the heavy, clumsy drapery seldom bears a trace of ornament. A favourite shape is the campaniform crater; another, a kind of amphora only found in Lucania, is illustrated by Genick (Griech. Keramik, pll. viii. ix. x.). Assteas is a Lucanian master. Earlier Campanian vases imitate both in shape and subjects the so-called “Nolan” amphorae (see above). Later examples show great fondness for polychromy, tints especially prominent being white and yellow--the latter, in most cases, a cheap substitute for gilding. Tendrils of vine, ivy, and other plants are often introduced, as also on Apulian ware, with a happy effect: and occasionally motifs are taken direct from nature (as, e. g. a bird singing on a spray). The most important class, and that of highest artistic merit, is the Apulian, a product probably of Tarentine activity. Characteristic are the giant amphorae, one blaze of ornament from head to foot: characteristic too the heavy Doric chin of the men, the slender neck and stout barrel of the horses, the zones of fishes and marine;forms employed as ornament. [For Apulian vases,; v. O. Jahn, Einleitung, pp. 218 ff.; Gerhard, Apul. Vasenb. (B).]

As regards colours in S. Italian polychrome ware, the; red ground-clay is often changed to brown, and white used as a flesh-tint for women, but also, with a dash of yellow, for men. Yellow is perhaps the favourite decorative colour. An example will suffice to show the distribution of tints. On a crater representing the Calydonian hunt all the actors are in red ground-colour, but the boar is black stippled with brown, his eye black on white, his ears, tail, hoofs, and snout brown. His antagonist assails him with a yellow Roman sword, carries a yellow shield with white rim and red inner, and wears a yellow helmet. A dog, white, lined with yellow, leaps against the monster. In the field are tree-boles, white lined with yellow, and from them spring leafy sprays, also yellow. Under the lip of the vase is an ivy-wreath, with leaves in red ground-colour pointed with black and edged with a broad white outline.

It is doubtful at what time the S. Italian fabrics died out, possibly by 250 B.C.: but already in the 3rd-2nd centuries B.C. Latin painted vases appear. Their ornamentation is quite simple and rude,--a spray of vine or olive with perhaps an Eros in the centre (Annali dell' Inst. 1884). These are the last painted vases; and they are immediately succeeded by the Cales ware, black, metallic, and moulded (Gamurrini, Gaz. Archéol. 1879, pp. 47 ff.). Henceforth pottery, for so much life as is left to it, becomes a branch of plastic. On the Calene style follow the Samian and Aretine. Greek ceramic art has given place to Roman. The pottery of Rome is in itself of less importance, and is sufficiently described under FICTILE: but it has a value of its own, as the link by which the secrets of classical ceramic art were communicated to the Northern nations, among whom the Celts rank first. Samian and Aretine vases were freely imitated in Gaul and England; where native fabrics grew up under Roman influence. A valuable and representative collection of Roman and early British pottery is in the Yorkshire Philosophical Society's Museum at York.

The field of decoration in Vases.--At first the field is necessarily vague. An early principle of decoration is established by the analogy of a vase to the human body: then in Alambra ware definite units of ornamentation appear, and the surface is divided into compartments. Painting, as at Thera, makes it possible to decorate inner surfaces. In the Mycenae period the high centre [p. 2.932]of gravity in the prevailing vase-shapes serves to determine the shoulder as principal field: in Dipylon style both shoulder and neck--the latter perhaps especially--receive ornament, and there is a general correspondence between obverse and reverse. In Phaleron oenochoae the panel on the neck and the beginning of a metope style are to be noted; while the divergent rays which decorate in perpendicular lines the lower body of the vase introduce a new conception. The latter practice is perfected at Rhodes, and becomes thenceforth an established principle. Rhodes, too, began to divide the field into zones, proportioned to each other and to their position on the vase, to reserve the neck for mechanical ornament, and to make the junction of neck and shoulder organic by covering it with a band of dentals. Corinthian ware retrogrades: handsome as it undoubtedly is, it is false to the law of development which Greek pottery had already marked out for itself. At Cyrene the influence of metal originals was supreme; but the zones, rays, and dentals of Rhodes are retained. To metal-work is due the medallion and the preference for cylices and their ornamentation on the inner surface. On large vases the centre zone or zones form the field proper; the rest, like the outside of cylices, is given up to mechanical ornament. The main scene is placed, in Chalcidian amphorae, on the body; and above it is a narrow band of animals and horsemen. With Attic black-figure many improvements are introduced. A fixed ornament is adopted for the neck, and the field, divided into obverse and reverse by the handles, is given an internal unity by being framed in, and--as a consequence of the new technique--separated from the rest of the vase. To each of the several shapes, moreover, a special system of decoration begins to be assigned, compounded of three elements,--the zone, panel, and medallion,--of which the first and third belong of right to metal-work; the second is probably equivalent to a metope, and therefore architectural. Of the manner in which a suitable ornamentation for cylices was determined mention has previously been made. It need only be added here that the outer surface was finally adopted as true field, while the school of Epictetus perfected the inner medallion. Framing of the field, in red-figure technique, in amphorae and hydriae, is only retained, as by Andocides, from motives of conservatism. Until the influence of painting was thoroughly felt only a single ground-line was used, and there was no real differentiation of background and foreground. From 430 B.C. onwards the single ground-line is frequently broken up, and the field is treated as though the vase were so much canvas. Figures are also placed in the air, and this practice is subsequently greatly abused. In Campanian and Lucanian pottery as a rule no ground-line is marked: there are a few exceptions. In Apulian an irregular chain of dots serves that purpose, while figures “in the clouds” --forces controlling, and spectators interested in, the action--are represented by busts only.

[For the difficult problem of the relation between obverse and reverse, and the extent to which they mutually explain one another, v. J. C. Morgenthau, Der Zusammenhang der Bilder auf griechischen Vasen.]

LITERATURE.--General accounts: Jahn, Einleitung zur Beschreibung der Vasensammlung zu München (München, 1854: in parts obsolete); Birch, Anc. Pottery (London, 2nd ed. 1873); Dumont et Chaplain, Les Céramiques de la Grèce propre (Paris, 1881: in progress); Baumeister's Denkmäler, s.v. “Vasenkunde” (München, 1889: a most useful epitome, to which the present article is in many ways indebted); Genick, Griechische Keramik (Berlin, 1883: a résumé of types with text by Furtwängler); Lau, Griechische Vasen (München, 1877: numerous plates illustrating formal side of Greek pottery).

Special works.--The references given under various sections of this article are in no sense exhaustive, but they will furnish a clue to the most important and recent papers in periodic literature which for vases is of the utmost moment. For the connexion of early ceramics with Homeric culture, Helbig, Das homerische Epos: as a sample of modern criticism, Robert, Bild und Lied: for Cyprus and Phoenicia, Perrot et Chipiez, Histoire de l'Art dans l'Antiquité, vol. iii. Brunn's theories are to be found in Abh. d. kgl. bay. Akad. vol. xii. pt. ii. pp. 87 ff., and vol. xviii. pt. i. More extravagant is P. Arndt, Studien zur Vasenkunde (München, 1887).

Illustrative works.--The chief publications of figured and other vases may be found catalogued under the names of Tischbein, Millin, Millingen, Böttiger, Stackelberg, Gerhard, Panofka, Lenormant et De Witte, Bröndsted, De Luynes, R.-Rochette, Benndorf, Fröhner, Furtwängler: also in special series like the Wiener Vorlegeblätter, or general collections like Müller-Wieseler's, and Baumeister's Denkmäler, and the chief archaeological journals.


1 So Suidas asserts, but contrast Blümner, Technologie, ii. p. 57, as to the result of experiments made on fragments.

2 Lekythoi in the ordinary red-figure technique are also common.

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 2.178
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 35.56
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