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: Two Votaries


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Although not as early in point of time as some of the pottery, the two limestone sculptures are undoubtedly the most imposing objects among the new acquisitions. They are in the best archaic Cypriote style, and date from 600 to 500 B.C. The life-size statue of a bearded votary, illustrated on the cover, was found in the ancient sanctuary of Golgoi, about half way between the sea at Larnaca and the modern capital of Nikosia.In ancient religious rites the worshipper tried to enter as closely as possible into communion with the deity. To this end personal attendance in the holy place was essential, but, even as now, the people of that distant time found that they could ill spare the necessary time from the daily round. A living had to be wrested from the soil or from commerce, and prolonged devotional duties were not always convenient.Primitive thought therefore devised a way out by permitting the worshipper to substitute an effigy to represent him vicariously in the place of worship. Hence it became common, for those who could afford it, to set up a stone "votary" in or near the temple.Our bearded votary looks straight before him with almost hypnotic fixity. His head bears a wreath of leaves and berries, permitting rows of small and regular curls to frame his forehead. The beard, part of which is missing, is rendered in four stiff rows of curls. The tunic, which reveals the coarse texture of the material itself, is drawn tightly around the body, and a cloak falls from the left shoulder.The head of a helmeted and bearded votary, illustrated on page 45, although less naturalistic, shows even more vigor than the head of the full-length figure. In this carving it will be noted that there is no attempt to make the beard appear to grow from the skin. The helmet, quilted and framed, allows one row of curls to show above the forehead. This example is also from the temple of Golgoi and is in a nearly perfect state of preservation.THE POTTERYAs we have already indicated, the 1915 purchase of Cypriote pottery included examples of most of the ancient styles beginning with the Early Bronze Age, about 3000 B.C. Those of the Late Bronze Age have been supplemented with four important examples, one of which, a horn-handled jug, is illustrated on this page.It is of white slip ware, so called because the outside surface is covered with a thin coating or "slip" of light-colored clay and fired a second time. The form is apparently derived wholly from a leather prototype, the painted decoration consisting of simple bands intended to represent stitches or lacings. It will be noticed that they run radially from the bottom to the rim, as if the body were cut from a single piece of leather and sewn together like a jockey's cap.About 1200 B.C., iron first made its appearance in Cyprus and by 1000 B.C. was in general use. New styles of pottery now supplant the old, the chief fabrics or classes being bucchero ware and red and white painted ware.About 1200 B.C., iron first made its appearance in Cyprus and by 1000 B.C. was in general use. New styles of pottery now supplant the old, the chief fabrics or classes being bucchero ware and red and white painted ware.A barrel jug in the collection is an excellent example of white painted pottery. It has a globular body with trumpet neck and two-branch handles, decorated with a pattern of concentric circles, a chain of latticed lozenges and swastikas, in black and red. Several other examples of the same period are in the collection, including various forms: two bulbous jugs with round lips, an oinochoe with a corded handle and another barrel jug, this time with a one-branch handle.Of later wares the outstanding example is a pottery jug of the Hellenic Age, 600-500 B.C. It is one of the so-called "woman-and-pitcher" vases, high and narrow in form, with a wide foot and attenuated neck. On the front of the shoulder is a female figure in a long tunic, with high peaked headdress holding a trefoil lip jug, perforated to act as a spout.Although glass vessels are much more common than pottery vases in Cypriote tombs during the Graeco-Roman period (50 B.C.-400 A.D.), some of the latter are still found. The Institute now possesses three large amphorai, probably used for storing wine, which belong to the period of Roman colonization.OTHER WARESThe Cypriote collection lacks one important fabric, the so called "bucchero" ware. This hiatus is more than filled by the acquisition of three examples of Etruscan black bucchero ware, analogous with Cypriote bucchero in that they are both made of black clay in forms imitated from metal prototypes.The illustration on page 47 shows an important specimen of this ware. It is an oinochoe, made some time between 600 and 400 B.C., and is decorated on the body with a frieze of five lions rampant and another frieze of panthers on the shoulder. Another vase, showing oriental influence, and a covered bowl, both of the same ware, are perhaps slightly earlier.The origin of the Etruscans, a race which was established in the north of Italy by the IX century B.C. and eventually became a powerful nation, is still one of the vexing problems of archaeology. Although their own artistic originality does not appear to have been great, they appreciated and assimilated the Hellenic genius, and produced much in bronze and pottery that appeals strongly in its refinement of form and beauty of workmanship to our present day taste.One more class of objects in the classical room is still to be mentioned, the "Hadra" vases, so called because they were first found in any number at Hadra, the eastern necropolis of Alexandria. Two specimens have been added to our collection, dating from the III century B.C. The example illustrated on page 46 is pear-shaped in form, the body decorated with a broad band of palmettes in dark red and reddish brown on a buff ground. The neck bears a band of scrolls and a row of graceful dolphins. There are two handles at the side, one of which is lower than the other. Another handle is provided at the neck. This hydria is in an almost perfect state of preservation.Referenced Works of Art
  1. Life-size limestone statue of a bearded votary cypriote, archaic style, 550-500 B.C. Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund
  2. Horn-handled jug. Cypriote, VI century B.C. Dunwoody Fund
  3. Bearded and helmeted votary Cypriote, VI century B.C. Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund
  4. Hydria from Hadra, 300-200 B.C. Dunwoody Fund
  5. Black Bucchero Oinochoe. Etruscan, 600-400 B.C. Dunwoody Fund
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Source: "Two Votaries," <i>The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin</i> 18, no. 9 (March, 1929): 43-44.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009