Description, Function, Attribution, and Analysis of a Red-Figure Type B Kylix

Topics: Red-figure pottery, Pottery of ancient Greece, Ancient Greek pottery Pages: 6 (2475 words) Published: May 3, 2005
The durability of clay has brought forth an immense abundance of Greek pottery, a craft mastered by Athenian artists. Archeologists have found hundreds of varieties in creation, shape, function, style, and artwork in Archaic vases. The museum has been blessed with one of these priceless artifacts; it is the duty of this establishment to accumulate as much data as possible surrounding the vase. In first identifying technique, dimensions, and condition, as well as describing shape, ornament, and figural scenery, one may then begin to analyze the vase. This serves the general purpose of understanding where the artifact stands in Greek culture and history. Through the examination and research of figural scenes, it is then possible to compare these to other scenes and styles of the same and other painters. Finally, one can then hypothesize where, why, and how this piece was used. The Athenian vase can be identified as a red-figure Type B Kylix. The height of the vase vacillates between 12.1 and 12.3 centimeters, and the diameter of the foot is roughly 12.5 centimeters. Whereas the diameter of the mouth varies between 33.1 and 33.5 centimeters, the diameter with handles is close to 41.5 centimeters. The vase is completely restored, a condition in which pieces on the body of the vase are glued back together. The bottom of the foot is decorated with subsidiary ornamentation, but the design cannot be distinguished due to the condition of the kylix. A reserved save band runs around the step of the foot. Beneath the artwork is subsidiary ornamentation in the style of circumscribed and horizontal palmettes. A reserved line lies where the lower body meets the stem. The body of the kylix joins into the stem without an abrupt junction, and the foot is convex in profile. Along the exterior, two handles curve upwards along opposite sides of the kylix. Both the upper surface and the inside of the handles are reserved, with the area of the body behind them. The single figural scene on the front body of the kylix roughly depicts a battle between centaurs and human characters. It also includes animal figures. Starting from the left, there is a bearded and mustached male centaur with long, pointed ears. Above the waist, his head and bare torso are human; below the waist, his buttocks, legs, and hooves resemble the body of a horse. He clenches a spear from behind in his left hand, holding it behind his head. In his right hand his fingers are opened loosely, as only his thumb holds the spear. His four legs stand more relaxed than those of the centaur to his right, who lunges forward towards a human enemy. This centaur differs from the first in that he faces away from the viewer; his bare back is exposed, and in his right hand he grasps the front of the spear. However, his left arm is open, exposing the palm of his left hand. The third centaur is bearded and is shown in profile. Facing the humans to his left, he stands on his hind legs, recoils in defense, and holds his spear behind his head with both hands. His left hand grasps the front of the spear, and his right hand grasps the back of the spear. To his right there is a small insect-like figure, with two sets of wing-pairs protruding from its upper section and legs jutting from its lower section. Of the human figures, the first is male and faces the two centaurs to the left of the viewer. Also lunging forward, he plants his front foot as the heel of his back foot rises. His hair is shorter than that of the centaurs, and he holds the Boeotian variation of the hoplite shield that covers his mouth and chin. This shield is decorated with the outline of a turtle. The restored condition of the body leaves his clothing, or lack thereof, indistinguishable. It is also hard to discern whether he or the character to his right is holding a sword, which is short and points downward. The next figure, also human, lunges in the opposite direction. He is bearded and mustached, and lion skin is draped...
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