Previous First Next
SALAMIS IN THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS.
BY ALEXANDER PALMA DI CESNOLÀ, F.S.A.,
composed of bone, an étui, or small case, one foot in height, which takes the form of a statuette of a woman (fig. 89). It was made to open by a socketed joint at the hips of the figure. This little case contained, when found, two or three broken pins of ivory or bone. The art illustrated by the carving of this noteworthy figure is extremely simple, not to say archaic, and indicates the influence of Egyptian modes on the taste of a Greek artist, who disposed the long and severe folds of the drapery with great care, and yet referred to nature for the manner in which they are placed. The eyelids, irides, and eyebrows have been indicated by colour which appears to have been applied in a moist state with a brush; the lips and nostrils are carved in relief. The hair, which is in large, freely-disposed masses, is tinted and bound in a large knot over the forehead. From the presence of wings on the head, Dr. Birch conjectures that the figure was probably intended for Medusa. The arms of the little carving have been attached to the body by means of pins, one of which I replaced more firmly in order to secure it against loss. The fibrous nature of bone, which distinguishes that material from ivory, may be noticed in several parts of the interior of this extremely rare object. An additional and irrefragable proof that bone is in question here, is afforded by the unmistakeable cancellated structure of the interior of the relic. The collection of antiquities also contains an elegantly-worked bone carving of a lion, which originally formed the end or top of a pin or small stick, or the handle of a knife;1 a stop for a hairpin carved in the form of a head;2 bone hairpins of elegant design;3 and a small but fine carving of two females, full length, with a column between them.4. Among the rarest of the materials employed for decorative purposes by the people of antiquity is that of the shells of the sea; but for domestic service shells were largely used, as for spoons, and, above all, as strigils for the bath, and other wise as scrapers, as well as in some of the modern offices of paper. An exceedingly choice and rare example of the application of shelldecoration, or rather luxury, appears in the beautiful casket, which, with a necklace, three elegant ear-rings, and some other miscellaneous objects of interest
1 Plate VII, fig. 9.
3 Plate VII, figs. 14, 15.
2 Plate VII, fig. 23.
4 Plate VII, fig. 12.
I found in 1877, while digging in a tomb at Salamis. It is formed of the shells of a large bivalve, probably of the Byssus species, a marine mollusc, the beard of which was prepared and woven into robes of great price, while the preparationof another of its parts furnished the well-known dye. These shells (fig. 90) measure about five inches in one direction and six and a half inches in the other; the natural hinge which connected them has been broken, and its office supplied by a hinge of bronze attached by two pins to each valve, at one side. When in use, the sides of the casket have been kept together by a hook of bronze, which, turning on a pin outside one valve, catches in a staple which is fixed in the other valve, and passes through a hole in the former. This contrivance is identical with that of innumerable modern instances. On each shell is painted, not, as usual, engraved, in brilliant vermilion, a border of a running pattern; the border on one valve consists of a simple key-fret, or rectangular design, which is marked in the intervals of the inner side of the border by small indications of a flower and leaves; these are similarly painted in vermilion; the intervals of the outer side of the valve are filled with vermilion dots. The border of the other shell is formed of a running wave-pattern with a dot or spot of colour in each curve; in the centre on this side is an oval mark, also of vermilion, which has been so much obliterated that its character cannot now be explained; perhaps" it Vas a scarabǽus. The first-named, or upper, valve is enriched, on part of the border, with a four-armed cross, like that called a Greek cross, placed at the point of the natural hinge. The place of the bronze hook and staple is
Previous First Next