Melian pithamphora

As Melische Prunkamphoren or Melische amphorae a genus of large Bauchhenkelamphoren is called, which were produced in the Archaic period in the Cyclades. Because of their shape and color painting in oriental style they are among the most famous Greek vases. So far, eleven copies are known.

The amphorae are the 7th and early 6th century BC dated, the last ones were probably made ​​in the 580er years. Your name is misleading, the term " Melisch " is therefore now often quoted. After Alexander Conze in 1862 found the first three vessels in the form on the Cycladic island of Melos, he named it after the site as " Melische Thongefäße ". The name has been preserved, although the localization of production in Melos is now widely disputed. A majority of researchers, such as Ingeborg Scheibler, the production assumed to Paros, Naxos others, and still others such as Thomas Mannack keep both versions possible. Dimitrios Papastamos and long time John Boardman, which does not rule now also a Parian origin, represented on the view of a Melian origin. The longtime excavator on Paros, Otto Rubensohn, denied that there are on the island at all useful clay deposits. Many researchers believe that a decision according to the current results is not taken. To date, relatively few of these vases are known, a total of eleven pieces, the complete ( 9 copies ) or fragmentary (2 copies) are preserved. In spite of the few surviving examples of the spread is greater than for all other Cycladic vases. The export went over the Cyclades addition to the Parian colony of Thasos, where imitations of vases form were created, and to North Africa. Some of the fragments of vases was found on Delos, the amphorae were therefore probably destroyed before cleaning the island of 426 BC.

The up to 107 centimeters high amphorae are available in two forms, one older and one younger ausladenderen something a little slimmer shape. Clearly, the construction of three main parts can be seen: the body of the vessel, the width of the neck, which is almost as wide unlike the canonical forms of amphora as the body, and the high conical foot. The foot is provided at regular intervals with internal columns. They stand in the tradition of older Cycladic vessels, frühkykladischen taper neck vessels ( Kandíles ) and the geometric- Theran amphora of the line Aryan island style. Other than these early forms Prunkamphoren the organic act under construction. The lateral abdominal Henkel are recognized as horizontal double handle. You can also work through the painting as an optical additive effect. For one, they can give the impression of goat horns so that the amphoras like goat heads act with far-projecting horns. In a second variant eyes are painted under the handle, thus the handle look like eyebrows.

All amphorae have on the body a central image. In many cases, the necks are decorated figural, rare feet. With few exceptions, the neck is wholly or partly provided with metopes, occupying the neck in full height. The primary display occupies about the upper half of the body, including usually followed by two bands of spiral or Volutenmustern. The foot is usually decorated between the focal columns with double volutes, above and below, they are surrounded by geometric bands. As a conclusion followed by an aureole. The images shown are usually quite delicate and elegant, the painters use in larger quantities deck colors. Late specimens show figures in the black-figure style, on the other vases of the late animal frieze style is imitated.

The amphorae were used as vases representative of the upper class in the grave cult, where they had the function, which was later taken over by statues: they should mark the graves. In addition, they were probably used as cult objects in sanctuaries. With the growing importance of the sculptures and the production of vases came to a standstill. The pictures show horses (horses amphora ), Reiter ( Reiter- amphora ), gods ( Apollo and Artemis: Apollo amphora ), legendary figures ( Heracles Chariot: Herakles amphora, Sphinx: Sphinx - amphora ) and on a fragment Berlin mistress of the Animals ( Gerhard'sches fragment).

Compilation of Melian amphorae

(Nickname in parenthesis after Dimitrios Papastamos )

  • Athens, National Museum Inv. 354 ( " Heraklesamphora " )
  • Athens, National Museum Inv. 911 ( " Apollonamphora " )
  • Athens, National Museum Inv. 912 ( " Reiteramphora " )
  • Athens, National Museum Inv. 913 ( " Pferdeamphora " )
  • Athens, National Museum Inv. 914 ( " Sphinxamphora )
  • Athens, British School ( " Dionysosamphora " )
  • Berlin Collection of Classical Antiquities Inv. F 301 ( " Gerhard Bruch piece" )
  • Bonn, Academic Art Museum Inv. 2040 ( " Conzesches Bruck piece" )
  • Kavala, Archaeological Museum ( " Neapolisamphora " )
  • Paros, Museum Inv. B 2652 ( amphora depicting a plowing scene)
  • Paros, Museum Inv. B 2653 ( amphora depicting the Paris judgment)
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