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In attempting to classify the ancient fictilia, the most obvious characteristics I have to consider are those of form and colour. It might, perhaps, be deemed a more regular mode of proceeding, if shape and the natural objects that suggested it were to occupy the first place in my scheme, and if the painting were to follow next in order, as an accident of form. But, as Linnæus, in the arrangement of his Vegetable System, selected his first indicia from the parts, before he took a general or a specific view of the construction of the plant, in the same way I shall find it convenient to notice the decorative painting upon vases, as the first essential point, and reserve the form of the vase for secondary consideration.*

* Botanists altogether reject colour as accidental, and unfit to supply even specific character ; but, as the objects of which I am treating are wholly artificial, I feel at full liberty to employ it.

It is only by the style of the painting that we can judge of the comparative antiquity of these vessels; and as the contrast of colour, or general effect, is that by which they may be most easily distinguished, I shall adopt it as the criterion of the classes, which may thus be reduced to a few simple heads. According to this mode of arrangement, I shall comprise the whole under the four following Classes :

1. The Purple-figured,
II. The Black-figured,
III. The Illumined, and
IV. The Plain.

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The means by which the effect is produced next deserve attention, and the different modes of laying on the colours* suggest so many different Orders or subdivisions, in cases where further distinction


be necessary.

THE Vessels of the First Class are painted with a deep purple colour, on a pale clay. They frequently exhibit lions and stags, and other wild and tame animals, in alternate order, and such animals disposed in a similar manner, have been adopted to embellish the lips of the largest Siciliant vases of the latest periods. The similarity of style observable throughout the first class renders any subdivision of its contents unnecessary.

The BLACK-FIGURED Vases rank next for antiquity and curiosity. The groups on some of the earliest of these are heightened with enamel, and the ground is either red or pale. I shall, therefore, divide this class into three orders, with an additional order to comprehend the later imitations of this style.

* The best information on this subject may be obtained from a letter of the very accomplished antiquary, the Canon Andrea de Iorio to the Cav. Matteo Galdi, “ Sul Metodo degli Antichi nel dipingere i Vasi,” &c., which first appeared, I believe, in the Biblioteca Analytica, 1813. I have been indebted to this tract for several useful hints respecting my different orders.

+ This style of embellishment seems to have been originally Spartan. Herodotus speaks of a large bowl of bronze presented to Cræsus by the Lacedæmonians; the surface of the lip of it was filled with small figures of animals :— Ilomo áusvou κρητηρα χάλκεον ζωδίων τε έξωθεν πλήσαντες σερί το χείλος.-Lib. i. s. 70. The contents of this vessel (300 amphoreis) must have been erroneously reported.

THE THIRD, or ILLUMINED, Class is of many orders; for the contrast is produced by

1. Figures exhibiting the red clay, or warmed by a red varnish, on a black ground.

2. Figures on pale clay.
3. Figures relieved with white, yellow, or purple enamel.
4. Figures on a white priming,

5. Figures painted in opake colours, red or yellow. (If these be not restored, or altogether spurious.)

6. Ornaments only in red or white enamel, on a dark ground.

The Fourth Class is composed of those vases which have no painting, but retain the colour of the clay, whether plain, or warmed by a varnish superinduced, or of those which are wholly black; but in this state they are sometimes stamped, or marked with a pointed tool.

THE FORMS OF VASES present other but very various characteristics. Athenæus has mentioned a particular cup in use among the Greeks, termed xilógiov*, which derived both its shape and name from the fruit of the Nelumbium. After much attentive consideration of the subject, I have been led to conclude, that all the larger vases of the ancients, or with very few exceptions, have been fashioned after the capsules of certain plants of the water-lily kind : either

I. Of the Nelumbium of Egypt, approaching to a conical form; or II. Of the Nymphæa Lotus of Ægypt, of oblong spheroidal shape; or III. Of the Nymphæa alba of Greece, oblate spheroidal ; or IV. Of the Nuphar lutea of Greece, of which the capsule is urceolate.

Thus, the genera of vases may be expressed by the epithets,Nelumbio-ides, Loto-ides, Nymphæo-ides, and Nupharo-ides.

Κιβώριον.-Δίδυμος δέ φησι σοτηρίου είδος είναι, και τάχα αν είη τα λεγόμενα σκυφία δια το κάτωθεν εις τενόν συνήχθαι ως τα Αιγύπτια κιβώρια. ATHEN EUs, lib. xi. cap. 7. p. 477. Ed. Casaub.


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