circular #gold#incense . 2500-2000 B.C. This censer is composed of three assembled elements. The body and the foot were hammered from the same gold leaf, but the bottom of the vessel is a small disk that was made separately and soldered to the upper foot. The lid is pierced by many small holes, made with a very thin punch, arranged in straight lines.
The piece is as simple as it is elegant in shape. The body, mounted on a small #trumpet -shaped foot, has a triangular profi le, with a high vertical rim supporting the slightly convex circular lid.
Exactly how the object was utilized is uncertain. The presence of a cap on the bottom, which was no doubt difficult to seal completely, indicates that the vessel was not intended to contain liquids. It would therefore have been a censer for solid substances that gradually freed their scent through the lid or for incense sticks inserted into the small holes pierced in the lid.
Although no #archeological or historical evidence enables us to confirm the precise use of this artifact, its shape clearly indicates its date, since it is attested for gold drinking cups and also for small #cosmetic objects from Ur,from #Westernasia (#Troy ) as well as #Cretan and #Cycladic vessels .Exhibited: Artempo: Where Time Become Art, #palazzofortuny , Venice, June-October 2007.
Published in the catalogue of the exhibition mentioned above.#beautyofancientart#phoenixancienart#antiquities
#byzantine#gold#earrings with #emeralds . 6 th . cent.A.D.
Each of the two splendid earrings consists of a thick, boat-shaped body, made of gold sheet and an ear hook hinged to one side of the opening. Attached to the outside are three pearls alternating with #emeralds . The pearls are held by short pins and supported by an #ornament of twisted wire while the emeralds are set in square box settings tapering towards the base. No direct parallel to this splendid pair of earrings is known. Style and technique suggest, however, an origin in the #Earlybyzantine period.
This dating is evidenced by a decree from the attested #Codex#Justinianus (between the 5th and 6th century A.D.) that retrained the usage of gold, pearls and emeralds to imperial ornaments. This law, aimed at refraining the Byzantines’ passion for #preciousstones hence rare of the markets, did actually make an exception for #femininejewelery This delicate and pragmatic attention has allowed us to contemplate this magnificent pair of earrings, which sharpness and color contrasts (white, green and gold) all draw attention.#antiquites#antiquities#archeology#phoenixancientart .
#Hellenistic#italiote#vase in the shape of a #sphinx . 3 rd cent.B.C.
The vase is complete and in a good state of preservation. The surface of the clay is covered with a layer of white paint and abundant traces of #pink , red, #ochre and #skyblue paint, used for the decoration as well as the rendering of different anatomical details, still remain. Two blowholes are drilled under the base and on the hindquarters. The sphinx statuette was cast; the spread wings terminating in volutes, the trilobed neck with a broad rim, and the ribbed and high handle were made separately and attached to the body before the firing process. The shape of the vessel is an oinochoe. Two flowers adorn the spout, near the handle’s attachment.
The sphinx is seated on its hind legs, in a resting position but ready to pounce. The body is slender, with balanced proportions and many modeled details (leg muscles, rounded breast, claws); the tail is rolled up to the right. The delicate and feminine face is framed by wavy hair, which falls in braids on the shoulders; the ornament consists of a necklace painted in pink and a palmette drawn on the chest, of earrings and of a medallion that adorns the center of the forehead. Although inspired by Attic prototypes from the 5th century B.C., this vase is Apulian.Like other hybrid beings of #Greekmythology , the sphinx acquires her canonical female and winged structure in the Archaic period. An interpretation of the Eastern image, the Greek sphinx keeps her decorative function, adorning helmets (#Athena#Parthenos ), thrones (#Zeus from #Phidias , at #Olympia ), and fabrics, etc.; her presence on numerous #funerarymonuments (statues, archaic steles crowning, coffins, paintings on pottery, etc.) confirms her funerary and #apotropaic function in the Greek and Italic world, as a guardian and protector of the tomb.Several moments of this episode are included in Greek imagery (mostly by Attic craftsmen), not only on vase paintings but in sculpture as well (see for example the Phidias group).#antiquities
#egyptian#alabaster#plate with beautiful #veins .#dynasty I-II. 3000-2750 B.C.
This large, shallow plate, with its #concave profile, is in an #excellentstate of preservation. The surface of the alabaster was carefully polished, and the #naturalpattern of the horizontal veins of the stone can still be seen.
The shape is extremely simple and linear: its body is slightly concave with a fl at upturned lip. On the interior, the flat base is outlined by an incised circle, which resembles a #medallion . The artisan skilfully manipulated the stone’s striking #veining , creating the vessel’s #decoration from the natural beauty of the #translucentalabaster : the design resembles the sea agitated by #waves or the last rays of the #settingsun .
#Vessels such as these, which vary in height and #concavity and look to the modern eye like large bowls, were used as plates. These plates could be placed on a #cylindricalstand to serve as an #offeringtable ; images of such vessels used in this way are in the funerary frescos of this period. Chronologically, they appear at the beginning of the 3rd millennium B.C., and are most frequent at the end of the 2nd Dynasty.
In ancient Egypt, stone vessels were considered the premier luxury goods. They are only found in royal tombs and among the accoutrement of the #highestranking members of #society . The quality of stone work improved throughout the ##Predynastic and #Thinite periods, as is clear from this superb example of a plate, which is notable both for its quality of #workmanship and its large dimensions.#antiquities#antiquites#archeology#phoenixancientart
#Egyptian#alabaster#headrest with an inscription #oldkingdom . 2345-2181 B.C. his headrest is composed of four #pieces one that curves upward to support the head; a square #abacus ; a #column with a smooth band reserved for the inscription; and a flat, rectangular base sculpted with a circular platform, on which rests the column #pedestal . Its form, which clearly recalls studies of #funerary#architecture , was developed during the Old Kingdom, culminating in Dynasty 6 with a fully formed #classicalstyle . This example is typical of the end of the Old Kingdom, with a flaring, evenly fluted column subjected to a slight entasis. Breaks, such as that on the right side of the well-curved arch, are extremely common on this type of object.
While headrests of this form are commonly found, they were generally reserved for high dignitaries. On the other hand, there are very few four-piece calcite headrests to be found. All other known examples date to Dynasty 6 and were used exclusively as funerary and votive objects, because this method of assembling the four pieces, and the slightly excessive height of the column would not have allowed for daily use. The #dedicatory inscription that runs from right to left on the abacus and vertically on the column facade is identical to the one on the band. It is standard for this type of object, identifying the deceased with the standard #formulaic#dedication , the sole friend and prèbende. One can read on the abacus: the sole of #Nefer -Neferti, and on the column, the sole friend, next to the great god, Nefer-Neferti.#antiquities#antiquites#archeology#archeologie#phoenixancientart
#Egyptian#predynatic#alabaster#amphora with #snake handles.circa 3000 B.C.
The smooth and polished surface reveals the #naturalbeauty and translucency of the stone especially when the light comes through its walls. The light beige stone has several almost vertical veins: the carving of the stone follows successfully the #polychromy and the geometric arrangement of the striped #alabaster to create a #naturaldecoration for the vessel. It was carved from a single large block of stone. The shape is very elegant and #harmonious in its simplicity: the bottom is flat, the ovoid body is elongated, the shoulder is gently rounded, the lip is thick and well modeled. A relief ornament in the shape of a snake suggests a handle on both sides of the upper part of the body. The internal profile corresponds to the exterior contours of the vase. Intact vessels of this size and quality that have survived into modern times are extremely rare.
In #ancientegypt the stone vases were considered as first rate #luxuryobjects : they appear only in the royal tombs as well as in the graves of the elite. The art of vessel carving had already reached its peak as far back as the Old Kingdom: for example, the artisans working under the#pharaoh#Djoser can be credited with tens of thousands of vessels that were placed in the magazines of the step #pyramid of #Saqqara – we are referring to 30-40,000 vases, the majority of which were found broken. The creation of these objects is a frequent subject on #OldKingdom painted murals, but very few ancient workshops have been discovered. The iconography seems to indicate that the carving commenced with the sculpted and polished exterior, before piercing the interior with the help of a drill, a stick would forked at one end to hold an abrasive stone. To assure even and centered drilling with the most stability, the rotation was achieved by alternating the drill, from one direction to the other. These different steps were accomplished by placing the vase in a hole in the ground or on a worktable. The final polishing involved rubbing the surface with a hard stone, sand or emery.#antiquities#antiquites#phoenixancientart
This type of sculpture is called a #Protome ; it means a representation of a bust of a human or animal figurine. In this case a female head open at the top surmounts a piece of plate, #pinax , pierced with two holes.
The face, of elongated oval form, has mild contours, with a rounded chin. The construction is precise and symmetrical, with horizontal axis that is marked (lines of mouth, the eyes, the eyebrows, the border of the hairline, the #crown ). The #mastersculptor noted, with incomparable finesse, the anatomical details, amongst which one must point out the chevrons that indicate the hair, the iris in relief in relation to the oval contour of the eye-ball, and the pearls of the tresses of hair defined one by one. The hairline is arranged in small waves on the forehead and ends with two plaits that descend behind the ears and mark the end of the pinax.
This woman wears a particular crown, made of fluted leaves, arranged vertically one next to the other. This is the only element that can furnish us with information relating to the identity of the figure. During the Archaic period this headgear characterises in certain representations three divinities, which have associations with nature and fertility: #Artemis (especially at #Sparta ), #Demeter and #Hera . Sometimes the sphinx is found wearing the same crown, but in the case of this head nothing reminds one of these creatures.
Typologically this sculpture is comparable to numerous female protomes in terracotta, commonly found in sanctuaries beginning in the sixth century B.C. They are found in all regions of the Greek world: eastern, continental and colonial. Despite the fact that the study of these objects is problematic, it seems certain that most were offerings that pilgrims dedicated to this divinity whilst visiting one of the sanctuaries. Following this type of protome the holes are placed on the head, near the ears or on the pinax: they served to suspend or hang the object to a wall of the sacred place.
From the inscriptions of inventories of certain sanctuaries dating from between the fifth century B.C. and the first century A.D., we know that some metal #protomes were exhibited as votive.
This impressive and #exquisite arm was once part of a larger than life size figure made of bronze with overall gilding. This fact immediately suggests the representation of a god or a person of power or high social status and wealth. Several opportunities for its iconography and composition could be explored, however we believe it to be the arm of a grand #equestrian fifire holding a short sword, reins or curved wand (lituus), considering the relatively lightweight and presumably diagonal position of the object.
The half figure of #Augustus , the survived part of the bronze equestrian statue at the #nationalmuseumathens , has one hand (left) with a similar gesture and gracefully extended fingers, for which a short sword has been suggested. The official iconography of the #romanemperor as the supreme priest (#pontifexmaximus ) includes the augur’s staff (curved wand, lituus) in the right hand; such a small attribute is not always survived in large statues, but it is represented in the historical reliefs on cameos (#gemmaaugustea , Vienna, #kunsthistorischesmuseum ; #Grandcameedefrance and Cameo of apothéoses of #Claudius , both Paris, #biliothèquenationale ): they represent the deified persons, half-naked as gods and omitting the usual priest’s veil, but holding the lituus.
The arm is bent at the elbow and is somewhat raised; the muscles are articulated but not exaggerated; the absence of the strong and developed #musculature , especially in its upper part, may suggest an older age of the represented person. The fingers have typical narrow distal #phalanxes and rather small nails, which are naturalistically rendered; on the palm between the fi ngers there are remains of lead which indicate the connection to an attribute, in our theory, a short sword, reins, or #littus . The index and middle finger did not touch the object and the thumb was not pressed against it, only the little and ring fingers are curled which brings us to the conclusion that the object was not heavy, which is also observed in the fact that the muscles of the arm are not strained.
The arm is hollow and was cast separately of the rest of the #statue in the #lostwax model technique #antiquities
#roman#marble head of a Youth. This representation of a youth is one of the finest pieces in #romanportraiture of the #Julio -Claudian and #Flavian periods. The composition, which is typical, presents him looking straight ahead. His appearance is individual and marked by a rather narrow shape of the face with prominent square chin. The hairline leaves his wide forehead open, the eyebrows, which hair is not modeled, make clear lines above the eyes of which the right is slightly smaller than the left one. The face is distinctive by its large, entirely preserved nose and very full lips well-articulated by the undulating lines; especially noticeable is the enlarged and tumescent area of the upper lip. The profile presents the outline of the nose and lips dominating over the chin. This kind of disproportionality in the features of the portrayed person may indicate his still quite young and transitional age (it has been previously suggested that the young man could be from the eastern part of Roman Empire, but otherwise no eastern feature could be observed in his look). Indeed, the young man could be in his late teens as it is suggested by his short downy beard. It covers only the lower part of the whiskers and chin, and does not even create a complete line along the face; the hair is hardly visible in the mouth corners. According to a Roman custom recorded by the writers #Juvenal (approx. 60-128 A.D.) and Suetonius (70-128 A.D.), young men shaved off their beards and offered them up to the gods during the ceremonies; this ritual, which marked their transition from youth to maturity, was related to the assuming of toga virilis (young men before completed their seventeenth year wore #toga praetexta). The age by the ceremony may vary: #Suetonius (The life of #Nero , 12) describes that Nero, who was 22 at that time, shaved off his first beard, put it in the gold box decorated with rare pearls and dedicated in the #Capitol . 2nd half of the 1st. cent.A.D.
#etruscan#bronze#statuette of #Hercules .
Heracles is represented as a young man, nude and standing in a posture of attack: he advances with his right leg held back and his left slightly bent and forward. The left arm extends towards the observer armed with a #bow , while with the right, bent further back, the hero carries his #club . #Heracles is clothed only in his lion’s skin (#leonte ), which covers his head like a #helmet while the #cheekpieces are represented by the jaws of the #feline ; the lion 🦁 paws of the animal are knotted on the chest while the rest of the skin, which hangs from his shoulders, is draped over his left forearm. The hide of the lion is rendered in a realistic fashion by small incisions and, on the vertebral column by a thick band ornamented with fishbone pattern. Beautiful untouched shiny olive green patina .400-350 B.C.