When I learn how old an object like this vase from Sicily is, it puts things into perspective. I was thrilled to see this in person at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York a couple of weeks ago. Dated to have been made between 300 and 200 B.C.E., this polychrome terracotta jar associated with weddings (i.e., lebes gamikos) was actually made for a tomb. Because the lid is fixed to the body, scholars believe it served purely a symbolic function.
According to the book Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome, it is 15 and 5/8 inches high and is from Centuripe, a town in Enna province that was at one time, one of Sicily’s biggest producers of ceramic objects. This vase illustrates the “elaborate applied decoration and refined polychrome tempera painting executed after firing” for which Centuripe was known. The scene shows a bride surrounded by attendants. A large frame drum is being played by one woman (Why I love it!).
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I think art history could be rewritten because of this one vase. The whole idea of chiaroscuro only showing up during the Renaissance. Okay, maybe the contrasts were greater, but it’s evident here. Hmmm
Northern Europeans wrote history (and wealthy white guys….). Sicily has so much going on that makes one question commonly accepted ideas.
Now I’m wondering what else I should question. Let’s put music history on the table, since that’s what I studied in college. But I didn’t study just Western music but also Indonesian and Middle Eastern because I was at the Univ. of Hawaii where they teach ethnomusicology. I wish I had majored in that instead! It was so mysterious, and that suits me. I love your music and the Sicilian music I’ve listened to. A lot. <3