Ancient Greece: A Sketch of Its Art, Literature & Philosophy Viewed in Connexion with Its External History from Earliest Times to the Age of Alexander the Great

By H. B. Cotterill | Go to book overview

NOTE D
POTTERY AND VASE-PAINTING

IN the List of Illustrations information will be found concerning the thirty-nine specimens of archaic pottery and Greek vases which are depicted in this volume. Here I shall add a few general remarks, and shall first note the fact that, while many of the vases of the classic era are of exquisite beauty and of inestimable value as works of art, also a fragment of common old pottery--the shard, maybe, of some ill-shaped, hand-made earthenware vessel, roughly decorated with scratches, or with artless and grotesque pictures of plants or animals or human beings, or incised perhaps with a few rudely scrawled letters--may be of very great interest, and that too not only for the antiquarian. It may have survived many a majestic work of art, many a splendid temple, many a famous city; it may have outlived the rise and fall of mighty empires; it may possess the power, as I said in reference to the inscription on little Tataia's oil-flask, to throw for us a fairy bridge across a vast abyss of time.

Of archaic pottery directly connected with Greek ceramics we have two important types--the Cretan and the Aegaean, or 'Mycenaean.'

(1) Among the relics of the Neolithic Age (c. 6000-3000) are numerous fragments, excavated in Crete, of black, hand-made, unfired and undecorated pottery of the same character as the ancient Italian bucchero, the intensely black colour of which is supposed to have been obtained by laying charcoal and resin on the wet clay. Later relics of this age are hand-burnished and have linear incisions filled with white

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