collage art, Christof Maupin art, amphora

Articles of interest from our sister blog

As many of our regular readers know, I started a “sister blog” a few months ago, dealing with my exploration of the intersection of art from the past and art from the present, and specifically how this impacts my own work as an artist. As so much of my work is impacted by art from the distant past, I thought it worth sharing some of my posts from the other blog site. Comments welcome:

Some Thoughts on the Persistence of Classical Imagery

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/some-thoughts-on-the-persistence-of-classical-imagery/

A few thoughts on the art of printmaking, views of antiquity and modern prints

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/a-few-thoughts-on-the-art-of-printmaking-views-of-antiquity-and-modern-prints/

The art of enameling, ancient and modern

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/the-art-of-enameling-ancient-and-modern/

A case study in reinterpreting an old technique: English slip decorated earthenwares and modern counterparts (including my own)

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/a-case-study-in-reinterpreting-an-old-technique-english-slip-decorated-earthenwares-and-modern-counterparts-including-my-own/

Broken Things

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/broken-things/

 

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Our New YouTube Account

We’ve received such a positive response overall on our antiquities informational videos (2 so far) that it seemed a good idea to share with everyone our YouTube page.

Here is a link to Clio Ancient Art & Antiquities YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdFmlhmTETtLrK6CEsvDHHg

Ancient Beads in Faience, Glass, Stone & Metal

The humble bead has been a part of human decoration and self adornment for as much as 100,000 years. The earliest examples, from around the Mediterranean shores of the Near East and North Africa, were made from shell and bone. With the rise of urban civilizations and new technologies beads were developed in new materials. Utilizing examples from our own web stores we will examine several examples from Egypt, Phoenicia, the Roman Empire and beyond, spanning about 1,500 years.

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The earliest beads on our website are these Egyptian faience beads, dating to the Third Intermediate Period or Late Dynastic Period, Circa 1,070-332 BCE. Egyptian faience, combining many of the qualities of both ceramic and glass but made primarily from ground quartz, had been made into beads since the 5th Millennium BC.

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This beautiful string of densely packed discoid faience beads dates to the Ptolemaic or early Roman period in Egypt.

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This Phoenician rod-formed glass eye bead, spherical, with a single blue and white “eye” protruding from a brick red matrix, dates to the 6th – 4th Century BCE. Included with several other ancient glass objects, this is the oldest glass bead on our website. Eye beads, thought useful in keeping away evil, have a long history from the late 2nd Millennium BC through the modern era.Image

Like most ancient Roman and later glass beads, this Roman mosaic glass bead of the 1st or 2nd Century AD was made by “rod forming”; that is, by forming the bead at the end of a metal rod, thus creating the central hole for stringing, and working the object in the flame. This object may well have been made at Alexandria in Egypt, the greatest center for glass working in the early Roman period.

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This lovely group of Roman crumb beads was made by rolling a hot glass bead of very dark color over a heated stone or metal surface with small chips of red, yellow, blue and green glass scattered on it. The hot glass bead picked up the chips and the object was repeatedly heated and rolled on the surface again until the chips were basically flush with the bead.

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Roman bead makers, like others before them, often made beads in the form of pendants. This group of 3 beads in a variety of shapes and colors, one of which is also a modified crumb bead, is a good example.

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Not all Roman beads were glass. Beads were just as often made from humble materials, including stone (common, semi-precious or precious), shell, bone or metal. 3 of the 4 beads in the group above are made from stone. One, with simple striations for design, is of soapstone, one of lapis lazuli and another of what appears to be malachite.

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This large bronze bead, part of a group of 3 Roman bronze Jewelry elements offered together on our website at is a good example of pre-Roman practices of bronze jewelry making continuing into the Roman period. This example comes from Roman Spain, where bronze jewelry elements, such as beads, were common in the Iberian and Iberian-Celtic cultures.

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After the western Roman Empire had collapsed and slowly morphed into various early Medieval European states, glass making did of course continue. But it was in the east, in the Byzantine Empire, direct descendant of ancient Rome, that glass making, including beads, continued basically uninterrupted and indeed flourished. New forms evolved for new uses. The Byzantine bead illustrated here shows the continuity of form from the previous thousand years of glass bead making but is distinctly Byzantine in decoration.

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Of course, glass bead making evolved again and continued to flourish in the Islamic period, from the 8th Century AD right up to the mid-20th Century in some specific places. Although the item illustrated here is a Medieval Islamic game piece, it was made by a bead maker and is really no more than a modified bead.

A few thoughts about collecting ancient beads:

  1. Avoid buying from so-called “dealers” on the major web based auction sites (you know who I mean). Deal only with reputable dealers belonging to a major antiquities trade association.
  2. Glass beads in particular are notoriously difficult to date. This is because bead making was basically a conservative trade; why change styles much when something works? Styles and even chemical compositions of raw glass remained little changed for long periods of time. In addition, some decorative styles were reinvented or emulated centuries after they had gone out of style. Some dealers are simply lazy and fail to recognize subtleties that can correctly date glass beads. Before buying, ask the dealer to provide comparative data, as we do on our website.
  3. Do your homework. There are some excellent references to be found on both faience beads and glass beads. Buy the books before you buy the beads. Here are 2 I highly recommend —
    •  Hidden Histories, Exhibition Catalogue. Marwa Helmy, University College London, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, 2008.
    • Ancient Glass in the Israel Museum, Beads and Other Small Objects. Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2001.

You may find more ancient beads for sale on our web stores at Etsy and eBay, here –

Visit our eBay Store: http://www.ebay.com/usr/clioantiquities

Visit Our Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClioAncientArt

Clio Roman Antiquities

Roman Antiquities in the British Museum: A Photo Essay

The British Museum’s holdings of Roman antiquities, broadly covering about 800 years, from the early Republic through the collapse of the western Empire, are so vast that only a very small percentage of the material on display can be presented here. We hope this brief photo essay, focusing on antiquities and displays that are the author’s personal favorites, will inspire greater interest in Roman art, history and culture, to which we are all so indebted.

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The Great Dish from the Mildenhall Treasure, Britain, 4th Century

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A pair of silver bowls from the Mildenhall Treasure, Britain, 4th Century AD

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Mold made ribbed dish of marbled blue glass, made in Italy, 1st half of the 1st Century AD

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Mosaic glass dish, probably made in Egypt, found in Italy, Circa 25 BC – AD 25

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Roman blown glass vessels of the 1st Century AD

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Roman blown glass and mold made glass vessels, 1st & 2nd Century AD

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A nice selection of Roman transport amphorae, 1st-4th Century AD

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Examples of lead glazed pottery from various dates and locations around the Empire.

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Examples of ceramic oil lamps from throughout the Empire, 1st-4th Century AD.

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Disc brooches (fibulae), just one of many types of brooch, from the western provinces of the Empire, utilizing enameling or gilding.

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Bronze and terracotta deity statuettes for household or votive use.

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Gold body chain from the Hoxne Treaure, Britain, early 5th Century. Part of a vast treasure of gold and silver coins and objects buried as Roman Britain came to an end.

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Silver rings and scrap silver and the vessel they were found in, from the Snettisham Jeweller’s Hoard, Britain, 2nd Century AD.

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Lead water tank from Roman Britain, 4th Century AD, bearing the Chi-Rho symbol (early Christian).

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Terracotta architectural relief of Victory sacrificing a bull. Italy, late Republic or early Imperial.

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Terracotta panel showing scene from a Palaestra (wrestling school). Italy, 1st Century AD.

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Terracotta statue of a girl, perhaps a Muse, 1st Century BC or AD, found at Porta Latina, Rome, in the 18th Century.

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Bronze head of Hadrian, detached from a large statue, found in the River Thames in 1834.

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Venus (Aphrodite). Marble, probably made in Rome, 1st or 2nd Century AD, after an earlier Greek original.

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Portrait busts of Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138) and his 2nd cousin Matidia.

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Portrait busts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD) and co-emperor Lucius Verus. Found at Cyrene, North Africa. Made circa 160-170 AD.

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Three layered Sardonyx cameo of Emperor Augustus, made AD 14-20.

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Mosaic with cable pattern from a Roman house in Utica (North Africa), 3rd Century AD.

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Mosaic panel from a late Roman house in Carthage (now Tunisia), 4th-5th Century AD.

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Mosaic panel with dolphins, from a Roman house in Halicarnassos (now Turkey) 4th Century AD.

Clio Ancient Art offers many Roman antiquities in ceramic, bronze, glass and other materials, with prices ranging from under fifty Dollars up to several hundred Dollars, here:

* Find us on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/clioantiquities
* Find us on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClioAncientArt

 

Greek Antiquities in the British Museum

Greek Antiquities in the British Museum

A photo album on Clio’s Facebook Page, sharing a personal selection of the finest Greek antiquities in the British Museum.

Clio ancient Assyrian art

A Sampler of Ancient Assyrian Art at the British Museum

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Glazed terracotta tile. Nimrud. 875-850 BCE

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Protective spirit. Northwest Palace at Nimrud. 865 BCE

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Human headed winged lion, formerly flanking a doorway in the Northwest Palace at Nimrud. Time of Ashurnasirpal I, 865 BCE

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The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, showing scenes of tribute bearers from many lands. 858-824 BCE

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Gates from Shalmaneser III’s palace at Balawat. Embossed bronze strips over wood (reconstructed). 858-824 BCE.

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Winged human headed spirits. Northwest Palace at Nimrud. These may have guarded the entrance to the King’s private apartments. 865 BCE.

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Horses & grooms leaving Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh, 700 BCE

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Protective spirits, Nineveh, 645-635 BCE. These figures are not fighting but are protecting against any evil that might approach from two directions.

Clio Ancient Oil Lamps Roman

Ancient Ceramic Oil Lamps at Clio Ancient Art

Ancient Roman pottery oil lamps offer antiquities collectors the opportunity to specialize in a very specific area of collecting.

The range of different types, ranging from black glazed Hellenistic-inspired types in time of the Republic through the North African and Syro-Palestinian types with Christian-inspired decoration during Byzantine transition, span a period of some 5t00 years.

The range of ceramic fabrics, decorative schemes, shape variations and maker’s marks seem virtually limitless, and local lamp production took place in every region of the Roman Empire.

Some ancient oil lamp collectors specialize in the so-called “Factory Lamps” from Gaul and Italy in the 1st Century CE, others in the profusion of low-fired unglazed pottery lamps from the greater Levantine region, including, Samarian, Jewish, Roman-imitative and early Christian types, as well as Byzantine and early Islamic examples. Still other collectors focus on the long history of decorated red slip ceramic lamps of the North African provinces, especially Tunisia.

Oil lamps are of great value to archaeology, as well. With their well documented maker’s marks (and copies of these, much like cheap knock-offs or counterfeits of major brands today) and styles, lamps recovered in context offer valuable dating evidence. They also provide many clues to the movement of goods and people over time.

Prior to the introduction of modern laws governing the export of antiquities from most Mediterranean countries, that is, prior to the 1960s and ’70s, great numbers of ancient Roman lamps were collected. While a great many have since been donated to public art museums (this author has donated several examples to museum collections), there is still great availability. Fine quality examples, often with meaningful decoration on their discoi, are still undervalued in relation to other areas of the art market.

Clio Ancient Art offers many examples for sale at reasonable prices, including examples of all the types mentioned above.

Here is a link to our “Ancient Oil Lamps” page: http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/c14_p1.html

A few examples are shown below, with links to those pages.

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http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/i128.html

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http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/i63.html

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http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/i309.html

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http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/i382.html

Byzantine Musings on Easter Sunday

“…Consume my heart away; sick with desire

And fastened to a dying animal

It knows not what it is; and gather me

Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take

My bodily form from any natural thing,

But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

Of hammered gold and gold enamelling

To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;

Or set upon a golden bough to sing

To lords and ladies of Byzantium

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.”

— Excerpt from William Butler Yeates

SAILING TO BYZANTIUM

The very humble but beautiful objects shown here are all Byzantine. So little, comparatively speaking, of the often overlooked or misunderstood Byzantine world and its material culture still remain that every antiquity of that remarkable civilization should be treated with great respect. The links below lead to pages on our website that, among other cultures, include Byzantine antiquities —

http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/c26_p1.html

http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/c21_p1.html

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