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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

Prehistoric Art in Greece

Sculpture in metal

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If sculpture in stone appears to have been very little practiced in the Mycenaean age, the arts of the goldsmith, silversmith, gem- engraver, and ivory carver were in great requisition. The shaft- graves of Mycenae contained, besides other things, a rich treasure of gold objects – masks, drinking-cups, diadems, ear-rings, finger-rings, and so on, also several silver vases. One of the latter may be seen in Fig. 43. It is a large jar, about two and one half feet in height, decorated below with horizontal flutings and above with continuous spirals in repousse (i.e., hammered) work. Most of the gold objects must be passed over, interesting though many of them are. But we may pause a moment over a group of circular ornaments in thin gold-leaf about two and one half inches in diameter, of which 701 specimens were found, all in a single grave. The patterns on these discs were not executed with a free hand, but by means of a mold. There are fourteen patterns in all, some of them made up of spirals and serpentine curves, others derived from vegetable and animal forms. Two of the latter class are shown in Figs. 34, 35. One is a butterfly, the other a cuttle- fish, both of them skilfully conventionalized. It is interesting to note how the antennae of the butterfly and still more the arms of the cuttle-fish are made to end in the favorite spiral.


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