Ancient Greek painted terracotta statuette, depicting a dancer who holds a castanets-like percussion instrument. Artist unknown; 4th-2nd cent. BCE. Now in the Antikensammlung Berlin. Photo credit: Sailko/Wikimedia Commons.
Terracotta Army, Mausoleum of
Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors were buried
in 210 209 BCE
Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China,
to protect in his afterlife. The figures were discovered in 1974, in
Xian. Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150
Lakonian Black-Figure Kylix Artist: Attributed to the Hunt Painter (Greek (Lakonian), active 565 - 530 B.C.) Greek,Sparta,Lakonia,Greece, about 530 B.C.,Terracotta
A bird sign appeared to them, flying high and holding to the left and carrying in its talons a gigantic snake, blood-colored, alive still, and breathing, it had not forgotten its warcraft yet, for writhing back it struck the eagle that held it by the chest and neck, so that the eagle let it drop groundward in pain of the bite, and dashed it down in the midst of the battle and itself, screaming high, winged away down the wind’s blast. And the Trojans shivered with fear as they looked on the lithe snake lying in their midst, a portent of Zeus.
In the Iliad, the poet Homer described an omen seen by the Trojans as they were attacking the Greek forces. Signifying the eternal conflict of the forces of the earth and the sky, the motif of the battling eagle and snake was used throughout antiquity. On this Lakonian black-figure kylix or cup, the Hunt Painter filled the interior with an eagle flying to the left, gripping the neck of a snake in its beak and clutching the serpent’s long, undulating body in its talons. Stylized leaves and rays between bands decorate the exterior of the cup.
Neo-Assyrian Glazed Terracotta Tile from Nimrud (Kalhu), Iraq, c. 883-859 BC
A clue to the colour scheme of an ancient palace:
This glazed tile was found by the excavator Henry Layard at the Assyrian city of Nimrud. Along with the stone reliefs, it was part of the decorative scheme of the royal palace, although few examples survived Nimrud’s destruction in the seventh century BC.
This example depicts an Assyrian king, possibly Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC), accompanied by his bodyguard and attendants. It was probably part of a sequence showing the king as triumphant warrior and hunter. Such tiles provide a clue to the kind of colour scheme used for the relief panels. The decoration was executed in yellow, black and green (perhaps originally red) paint. These were made from natural materials.
It is likely that most major Assyrian buildings had paintwork at least in the reception rooms. Ashurnasirpal recorded that he had represented his triumphs in paintings. There were murals on the walls above the carved stone panels and the ceilings were also painted.
Glazed bricks are mentioned first in the second half of the second millennium BC when the mastery of the mechanical properties of glass had become known.