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Creator Nationality: Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Japan
Title: Cup
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1600
Creation End Date: 1699
Creation Date: A.D. 17th Century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Porcelain, underglaze blue, Nabeshima
Dimensions: unmeasured
AMICA Contributor: Dallas Museum of Art
Owner Location: Dallas, Texas, USA
ID Number: 1982.34
Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Haynes
Context: This mold-made head is approximately life size and exemplifies the beauty of female youth. It was the primary element of an architectural antefix designed to cover one of the end-tiles along the eaves of a roof. Originally the head was crowned with a diadem, now lost, and large Etruscan disk-shaped earrings were once attached to the ears. The hair over the brow and flanking the face has been molded in a rippling pattern enhanced by undulating lines of black paint to create a wavy effect. Large, staring eyes, accented by raised eyebrows and enhanced with blue paint (now a dull lavender), contribute significantly to the motionless frontality of the head. The double iris of each eye testifies to the artist's preoccupation with decoration over total naturalism. The intensity of the powerful gaze is muted by a subtle smile and the soft modeling of the face, with its delicately rendered nose and fleshy cheeks. An uninhibited use of bright colors, typical of Etruscan painting, contrasts with the powdery white face to create a conscious vitality and an appealing freshness nearly as effective today as it must have been in antiquity. The high brow appears to offset the balance of the face but would not have had this effect when seen at a sharp angle from far below the roofline in its original setting.Antefixes with female heads were generally arranged alternately with those having the heads of satyrs, the promiscuous companions of Dionysus, god of wine, drama, and ecstasy. The female images represented maenads, "crazed women" taken with the spirit of Dionysus, who normally cavorted with satyrs in Classical mythology. The mixing of male and female elements in the imagery of the antefixes alludes to the dynamic forces of nature from which Dionysus's power emanates. The Etruscans, continuously responsive to Greek artistic influences, became familiar with the cult of Dionysus and the motifs of satyrs and maenads through the Greek colonies of Campania in southern Italy. They would have considered the satyr and maenad heads as guardians, protective devices projecting from the roofline to ward off evil from the confines of the building.The exact provenance of this head is unknown, but there is evidence to support the belief that it may have been made in Caere (modern Cerveteri). Etruscan Caere was located a short distance northwest of Rome. Although a number of Etruscan towns manufactured terracotta sculpture, Caere was renowned for its abundant and aesthetically pleasing architectural terracottas. A rapid building program in southern Etruria during the latter half of the sixth century B.C. was met by an outpouring of Caeretan architectural terracotta sculptures. Terracotta sculptural decoration on Etruscan buildings included several forms, among which were antefixes, "acroteria" (roof ridge-line dýcor), gable decoration, and continuous figured friezes. The invention of the antefix head, however, is generally believed to have occurred in Corinth. Greeks from Corinth are known to have settled in Tarquinia, north of Caere, in the seventh century B.C., and Corinthian trade dominated the Etruscan market during this time. The primary port city of Caere, Pyrgi (modern Santa Severa), has a Greek name and was perhaps founded by Greeks, who called it Agylla. This Etruscan town was wealthy enough to establish a treasury at Delphi and enjoyed the prosperity gained by exploiting the metal deposits in the nearby Tolfa region. This affluence is substantiated by the opulent tumulus burials outside the city. The abundant wealth of Caere supported an active terracotta industry that was highly receptive to Greek artistic influence."Gods, Men, and Heroes," page 74
AMICA ID: DMA_.1982.34
AMICA Library Year: 2003
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