The Mycenaean pottery was gradually superseded by pottery of an essentially different style, called Geometric, from the character of its painted decorations. It is impossible to say when this style made its first appearance in Greece, but it seems to have flourished for some hundreds of years and to have lasted till as late as the end of the eighth century B. C. It falls into several local varieties, of which the most important is the Athenian. This is commonly called Dipylon pottery, from the fact that the cemetery near the Dipylon, the chief gate of ancient Athens, has supplied the greatest number of specimens. Some of these Dipylon vases are of great size and served as funeral monuments. It is four feet high. Both the shape and the decoration are very different from those of the Mycenaean style. The surface is almost completely covered by a system of ornament in which zigzags, meanders, and groups of concentric circles play an important part. In this system of Geometric patterns zones or friezes are reserved for designs into which human and animal figures enter. The center of interest is in the middle of the upper frieze, between the handles. Here we see a corpse upon a funeral bier, drawn by a two-horse wagon. To right and left are mourners arranged in two rows, one above the other. The lower frieze, which encircles the vase about at its middle, consists of a line of two-horse chariots and their drivers. It is more childish than anything we have seen from the Mycenaean period. The horses have thin bodies, legs, and necks, and their heads look as much like fishes as anything. The men and women are just as bad. Their heads show no feature save, at most, a dot for the eye and a projection for the nose, with now and then a sort of tassel for the hair; their bodies are triangular, except those of the charioteers, whose shape is perhaps derived from one form of Greek shield; their thin arms, of varying lengths, are entirely destitute of natural shape; their long legs, though thigh and calf are distinguished, are only a shade more like reality than the arms. Such incapacity on the part of the designer would be hard to explain, were he to be regarded as the direct heir of the Mycenaean culture.
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