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726 
[SYRIAN
CERAMICS

with the name in the genitive, or F, FE or FEC for fecit with the nominative.

Besides the ordinary terra sigillata with figures produced in moulds we find other methods of decoration employed. In the south of France, about Arles and Orange, vases were made with medallions separately moulded and attached round the body; these have a great variety of subjects, both mythological and gladiatorial or theatrical, or even portraits of emperors. There is a remarkable specimen in the British Museum with a scene from the tragedy of the Cycnus, on which Heracles and Ares are represented, with seated deities in the background (Plate IV. fig. 67). The date of these reliefs is the 3rd century after Christ.

EB1911 Ceramics Fig. 38.—Jar of Castor ware, reliefs of stag.jpg
Fig. 38.—Jar of Castor ware, with reliefs of a stag pursued by a hound, executed in semi-fluid slip. 6 in. high.

Of the same date is a somewhat similar ware made at Lezoux. Here each figure is attached separately to the vase, and the background is filled in with foliage produced by the method known as en barbotine (slip-painting), of which we shall speak presently. The effect of these vases, which are mostly large jars or ollae (Plate IV. fig. 70), is often very decorative, and there is a fine specimen in the British Museum from Felixstowe, on which the modelling is really admirable. Other good examples have been found in various parts of Britain.

The “slip-decoration” process is practically unknown in Italy, but it is found early in the 1st century of our era in Germany, and appears to have originated in the Rhine district. It is not confined to the red ware, but in the early German examples is applied on a dull grey or black background. On the continent its use is almost limited to simple decorative patterns of scrolls or foliage, but in Britain it was largely adopted, as in the well-known Castor ware made on the site of that name (Durobrivae) in Northamptonshire. Many of the vases found or made here have gladiatorial combats, hunting-scenes, or chariots executed by this method (fig. 38). The decoration was applied in the form of a thick viscous slip, usually of the same colour as the clay, but reduced to this consistency with water, and was laid on by means of a narrow tube or run from the edge of a spatula. The Castor ware appears to date from the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D.

Painted wares are at all times rare, but were occasionally produced in Gaul, Germany and Britain. A notable class of such ware seems to have been produced in the Rhine district, represented by small jars covered with a glossy black coating, on which are painted in thick white slip inscriptions of a convivial character, such as BIBE, REPLE, DA VINUM, or VIVAS (Plate IV. fig. 68). A very effective ware, obviously imitating cut glass, by means of sharply incised patterns, was made at Lezoux in both the red and black varieties.

Literature.—Dragendorff in Bonner Jahrbücher, xcvi. 37 ff.; Déchelette, Vases céramiques de la Gaule romaine (1904); Walters, Ancient Pottery, ii. chaps, xxi.-xxiii.; British Museum Catalogue of Roman Pottery (1908).  (H. B. Wa.) 

Persian, Syrian, Egyptian and Turkish Pottery[1]

Formerly, in all general accounts of the potter’s art, it was the custom to pass over the period between the fall of the Roman empire and the appearance of the beautiful Persian and Syrian pottery of the early middle ages, as if the intervening centuries had produced nothing worthy of note. Even yet the successive steps by which this beautiful art arose are largely matters of inference and deduction, but it must be borne in mind that while the Greeks and Romans made singularly little use of glaze and painted colour, the Egyptians and the inhabitants of Syria and Mesopotamia had long been noted for their skill in this direction. In discussing the pottery of these peoples we have already pointed out at what a very early period they had developed the production of rich and beautiful coloured glazes—the Egyptians as a jewel-like decoration of small pieces made in a very sandy paste, or actually carved from stone, and the Assyrians, on a bolder scale, in their glazed and coloured brickwork. Though the Egyptian and Syrian empires were overthrown, the peoples of these countries remained; and, as we are now aware, carried on their traditional craft, though in a less splendid way. There is abundant evidence that pottery was made in the Egypt of Roman times and later with rich turquoise blue and yellow glazes, though the potters had learned to produce this glaze on a material containing more clay and less sand than that used in earlier days. We know also that they had learned that the addition of lead oxide to a glaze enabled such glaze to be applied on vessels formed from clay which was sufficiently plastic to be shaped on the wheel. This knowledge was not confined to Egypt, but appears to have been spread over Syria and parts of Asia Minor; and throughout the Byzantine empire many forms of pottery were made which were clearly the starting-points of much of the fine pottery produced in Europe in later times. We find, for instance, side by side, a manufacture of bowls, dishes and vases of very simple shape, yet made of two distinct materials: (1) a whitish sandy body on which turquoise blue, green or even white glaze, consisting mainly of silicates of soda and lime, was used either without ornament or with simple painted patterns in black or cobalt blue under the glaze; (2) similar vessels made of a lightish red clay, also rather sandy and porous, coated with a white slip (pipeclay or impure kaolin) covered with a yellowish lead glaze. These vessels were decorated in a variety of ways: (1) Graffiati; patterns cut or scratched through the coating of white slip while it was still soft, down to the red ground, so that when the vessel was glazed it displayed a pattern in dark upon a light ground. (2) Yellow and red ochre and copper scales were rudely “dabbed” over the white slip surface, so that when the vessel was glazed it presented a marbled or mottled appearance with touches of red, yellow, brown or green, on a yellowish-white ground. (See the section on Egyptian pottery above.) (3) Oxides of copper or iron were added to the lead glaze, and the resulting green or yellow glazes were applied to plain vases or to vessels decorated with moulded reliefs. In all these methods we see the continuation of old tradition in simpler forms, but we shall also see that these, in their turn, became the starting-point of much of the medieval pottery of Europe, particularly of Italy and the other southern countries.

In the same way, a little farther east, the Persians of Sassanian times seem to have preserved some of the traditions of the potters of Assyria, just as they inherited their skill; and the Assyrian device of raising strong brown outlines round a design to control the flow of coloured glazes, which is exemplified in the Frieze of Archers in the Louvre, was carried on by them, for it appears unchanged in the tiles of the Mosque of Mahommed I. built at Brusa in the 15th century. The intercourse between the Persian and Byzantine empires at this time must have led to a general diffusion of technical knowledge among the pottery centres of the various countries round the eastern end of the Mediterranean, though our knowledge is too fragmentary to furnish sufficient data for any definite placing of the progress made. Our information is mainly derived from the examination of the rubbish mounds at Fostat, or Old Cairo, in Egypt, by Dr Fouquet, and by eager inquirers like Henry Wallis. Fostat was built in A.D. 640 by Amr and destroyed in the 12th century; partially rebuilt, it was given over to pillage in 1252 by a Mameluke sultan, and all that remains is the Old Cairo of to-day, the rest of the site being covered with accumulated rubbish heaps. In the same way Rhagae or Rai, one of the ancient capitals of Persia, the site of which lies a few miles east of Teheran, was destroyed about 1220 by Jenghiz Khan. Like Fostat it was partially rebuilt, but was destroyed again in the following century, so that its existence practically ceased in the 14th century. Rhagae was once an important centre of the ceramic industry, but this was transferred to the neighbouring town of Veramin, in the 13th century. Excavations have also been made on the site of Rakka, near Aleppo, in Syria, and from all these sources, and a few others of

  1. See examples in colour on Plate V.