In the Museum: Containing Antiquity an Exhibition in the Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch

By Masters, S. | Akroterion, Annual 2008 | Go to article overview

In the Museum: Containing Antiquity an Exhibition in the Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch


Masters, S., Akroterion


A selection of ancient Classical and Near Eastern artefacts belonging to the Iziko Museums of Cape Town (1) is currently on display at the Sasol Art Museum (a Stellenbosch University Museum) (2) as the remodelled exhibition, Containing Antiquity. The exhibition, though modest in size, features several important and interesting pieces, many of which are known to South African and international scholars. (3)

Recent history

Containing Antiquity is the happy result of an extended agreement between Iziko, the Department of Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch University and Sasol Art Museum. Iziko owns a large collection of antiquities, many of which were purchased for the then South African Museum by the businessman and benefactor to the city, Capetonian Alfred Aaron de Pass (1861-1952). His noble intention was that the "public of Cape Town [benefit from seeing] original examples of the artistic achievement of ancient civilizations". (4) Originally housed in the Old Supreme Court Building of the South African Cultural History Museum, (5) Cape Town, the antiquities were on display until they were put into storage in 2003.

In 2004 fruitful negotiations between the Department of Ancient Studies, Iziko and Sasol Art Museum allowed several key pieces of the collection to see the light of day again. (6) The artefacts selected were given new life in an exhibition housed in the Sasol Art Museum from 2005 until 2007, the appropriately entitled Living Antiquity. Living Antiquity is now succeeded by the re-themed Containing Antiquity, which is a study of a selection of ancient vessels with a particular interest in shape. With this focus, the exhibition capitalises on one of the particular strengths of the Iziko collection: its broad representation of vessel shape, type and function. (7)

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The current exhibition

The provenance of the objects on display is Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel / Palestine, Etruscan Italy and the Roman world and they range in date from the 3rd millennium BC to the 3rd century AD. All artefacts were selected because they are containers of some kind, and functions cover a wide spectrum of human experience: from birth to death, both male and female, freeborn and slave. These pieces each contained or packaged substances essential to ancient daily life, whether ordinary domestic life, the good life, or death and the afterlife.

There is, for example, the Egyptian "Bes" vase,8 which may have been used to store milk for feeding babies. Other objects were used for the storage, mixing, pouring, carrying and serving of daily foodstuffs, such as olive oil, water and wine. Some particularly refined vessels would have featured as smart dinner tableware, such as the Etruscan bucchero ware, (9) the exquisite Egyptian lotus cup, (10) and the better Greek black-and red-figure pieces such as the showpiece Chicago Painter stamnos. (11) While the various wine-drinking cups and the larger Greek vases such as the stamnos and the column krater (12) would have mostly been used and contemplated by men at the Greek symposion (drinking / dinner party), other smaller pottery vessels are drawn from the life of women. Included here are vessels that would have contained personal items such as trinkets and jewellery (e.g. the pyxis), (13) or perfumed water (plemochoe). (14) Storage of oil for athletes (aryballos (15) and alabastron (16)) and the pouring of funerary or religious libations (lekythoi (17)) are other uses represented here. There is a small selection of Roman glass bowls and toilette bottles, and a few pottery lamps that would have regularly been topped up with oil, perhaps by a slave, using the guttus. (18) Finally there is the alabaster canopic jar (19) from Egypt that would have contained the intestines of the deceased removed during the mummification process.

Such a range of vessel provenance, period, decoration, shape and function make this collection an ideal window into various aspects of ancient life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In the Museum: Containing Antiquity an Exhibition in the Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.