|Antiques Digest||Browse Auctions||Appraisal||Home|
History Of Pottery And Porcelain:
Pottery And Porcelain Defined
History Of Pottery
Forms Employed By The Italians
Holland - Delft
Introduction To Porcelain
Oriental Porcelain China
Pottery And Porcelain
Clocks And Watches
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
We are touching a chord which reverberates far back into that uncertain past where amid the dim relics of magnificence we find those first products of the potter's hand-the Babylonish bricks.
"Let us build a city and tower, and make us a name," is the cry of Nimrod's people; the rest is known to every Bible student. The ancient city of Smyrna has probably been engaged for a greater length of time in the manufacture of pottery than any other locality on the face of the globe, her pottery is first and last among the present examples.
To the collector the ceramic wares of Asia Minor are valuable on two accounts: first, their great antiquity and consequent historic interest, second, the intimate connection of this locality with Persia, which country became the medium for the introduction of ceramic art into Christian territory. How thoroughly intermingled were these two nations is implied by the fact that "between the Tigris and the Indus were spoken the Persian dialects, which differed from the Semitic not only in their vocabulary and phraseology, but also in their elements and construction." A land thus affected in her language, by incursion, could not but imbibe some of the arts of those who invested her border, and fictile material was one of the most important in these two: the fayence of Persia being far in advance, however, of the Asiatic work. The foliated ornamentation of the Babylonish bricks is not without its parallel. In the Persian product we see it reproduced variously, but in the same general form.
At the island of Rhodes we find another city vastly engaged in the manufacture of pottery. A ware here formerly produced, covered with an enamel of turquoise blue, is interesting as affording a repetition of the same art practised in Egypt.
In the collection of the late Mrs. Wm. C. Prime is a curious ewer or pitcher. This vase, probably produced within the last century, exhibits the slow advance of the art in Asiatic countries. It is about fourteen inches in height. The lip or spout of the pitcher is formed by the gargoyle which surmounts it: the only other ornamentation is a few leaves and flowers near the base, these being in bold relief. The ewer is covered with a yellowish lead glaze unevenly distributed, and the ornamental work is in dull tints of yellow, red, and green.
This ewer, purchased in Asia, was probably made either at Smyrna or Rhodes.