Sunday, January 7, 2018
A Few Decorative Architectural Elements from Pompeii

So many of my photos from the Pompeii exhibit turned out poorly, as the exhibit was in low light. But a few pieces turned out nicely.

Pelta with Masks
White Marble, c. 62-79 CE
Pompeii, House of the Citharist

(From the info card):"Carved from marble, oscilla were architectural decorations that were suspended between columns in the peristyle. The half moon marble shield was carved on both sides and mounted with pins through the middle, so it was free to move with the breeze. Flanked by griffin heads, one side shows two tragic theater masks, the other depicts a pouncing lion."

My photo shows the pouncing lion. Patrick Bowe explains further:

Oscilli and Pinakes: "Decorative stone panels sculpted in low relief and sometimes painted were used to decorated gardens. There were two types, the oscillum and the pinax.

"An oscillum was a small marble panel carved in low relief both on the front and the back with a variety of images and motifs. It was light enough to be suspended on a chain from an overhead beam and was frequently hung between the columns of a garden colonnade or a portico, where it would oscillate in a breeze, hence its name. The shape of such a low-relief panel was usually rectangular or round. Some panels were in the shape of a pelta, a traditional shield made of animal skin said to have been used by the mythical femal warriors known as Amazons." (Gardens of the Roman World, Getty Museum Publications, 2004, page 38)

White Marble, c. 62-79 CE
Pompeii, House of the Citharist

(From the info card): "The reliefs carved on oscilla are typically Roman scenes of Bacchus (god of wine) or theaterical themes. This circular oscillium has a relief carving of a naked satyr on both sides."

Relief of Theater Masks
White Marble, c. 1st century CE

(From the info card): "This marble ornament featuring typical masks worn by actors may have adorned a garden. On one side, there are stock characters from comic plays: a bearded slave, the long-bearded old man, and the youthful son. Two characters from tragic plays appear on the other side. Masks were used to help actors get into their roles and to enhance the sound of their voices."

Fountain Sculpture of a Snake
Bronze, 1st century CE
Pompeii, House of the Citharist

This piece is both decorative and functional. (From the info card): "Ready to attack, this bronze viper was found at the center of the peristyle garden at the House of the Citharist. Water sprayed from the serpent's mouth to supply the fountain."

Monday, January 8, 2018
Animal Sculptures from Pompeii

Fountain Sculpture of a Lion
Bronze, c. 1st century CE
Pompeii, House of the Citharist

(From the info card):"Mounted to the edge of a fountain, this lion leaps into the air, seemingly to attack its prey. This statue was found alongside other ferocious beasts that lined a fountain basin."

Wild Boar Attacked by Two Dogs
Bronze, c. 1st century CE
Pompeii, House of the Citharist

Fiercely attacking...

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