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Room of Greek and Roman Life (South Wing).
that in the Second Graeco-Roman Room), a prize vase, and a statue of a boxer, with the palm branch of victory. (D 632.)
[Cases 69-71 also contain three examples of relief work in stucco.
[Case 72. Mummy. See below.)
Cases 73-74. Frieze with the four Seasons. Summer with corn ; Autumn with kid and fruits ; Winter with a wild boar and game; Spring with flowers. (D 583–5.)
It is interesting to note, as an example of the adoption of designs for different purposes, that these figures occur on a vase of red Arretine ware in the Fourth Vase Room.
Case 74. The infant Zeus (his name is inscribed), and the Cretan Curetes, who clang their armour to prevent his cries being heard by his father, Cronos. (D 501.)
Case 75. Theseus (his name is inscribed) raising the rock, beneath which the arms of his father, Aegeus, were concealed. (D 594.)
Case 77. Athenè directing the construction of the ship Aryo for the voyage of the Argonauts in quest of the Golden Fleece. (D 603.)
Case 78. Dionysos visiting Icarios. (D531.) This is interesting as an abridged rendering in terracotta of the marble relief (No. 2190) in the Third Graeco-Roman Room (see above, p. 90).
Case 83. A Roman burlesque imitation of a hieroglyphic inscription. (D 639.)
Cases 83-86. A series of panels with figures of Victories sacrificing bulls.
Case 86. A comic scene on the Nile with Pygmies and Nile animals. (D 333.)
Cases 89-90. Large terracottas from the Porta Latina. (Cf. p. 125.) Also a series of Etruscan terracotta portrait busts.
Cases 65-68 are used for the temporary exhibition of small objects recently acquired by the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities.
Case 72. A mummy of a boy of a late period (third to fourth century A.D.) has been placed here to illustrate the Roman method of encaustic painting with coloured wax, melted on to the panel with hot tools.
Table-case M in this wing of the room contains small series of objects in the less frequently found materials such as jet, lead, stucco, etc., and small pieces of fresco paintings. It also contains a temporary exhibition of early fragments derived from the recent British Museum excavations on the site of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. A shade above contains facsimiles of the ivory statuettes which were found at the same time, and which are now in the Constantinople Museum.
Case L contains objects carved in bone, ivory, and amber.
The ivories are of all periods. Among the earliest are some important carved mirror handles of the Mycenaean period, from Enkomi in Cyprus.
An ivory mirror handle is carved with a lion attacking a bull. In the shade above is a similar mirror handle in a better state of preservation. On one side an armed warrior, whom later Greek legend more definitely specified as an Arimasp, is engaged in combat with a Gryphon, who has large wings, an eagle's head, and a lion's body and legs. On the reverse, a lion is attacking a bull, nearly as in the mirror handle already mentioned.
Among fine works in ivory, note :
A plaque with a subject exquisitely drawn in incised lines. A nymph is kneeling to wash at a pool of water which flows from a lion's head fountain. A young Satyr comes up from behind the rocks and snatches at her drapery. The green tint is perhaps due to the accidental nearness of bronze while the object was buried in a tomb.
In a glass shade above the case are ivory busts and statuettes.
At the end of Case L and in three shades above it is an interesting collection of carved ambers.
Cases 91-93. Examples of the comparatively rare Greek grave tablets, with painted subjects. Three of the tablets are from excavations at Amathus (Cyprus).
[A door in the South side of the Room leads, by a Corridor, to the Room of Gold Ornaments and Gems. Immediately adjoining are the Study of the Keeper of the Department, and the Departmental Library and Students' Room.]
ROOM OF GOLD ORNAMENTS AND
GEMS (WITH CORRIDOR). SUBJECT:--FRESCOES, PORTLAND VASE, GOLD ORNA
MENTS, SILVER PLATE, ENGRAVED GEMS,
THE CORRIDOR. [The cases in the Corridor are, at present, for the most part occupied with the collections bequeathed to the Museum by the late Sir A. Wollaston Franks, K.C.B., which form a part of the Department of British and Mediaeval Antiquities. *]
* For the classical finger-rings and jewellery, see the Catalogue of the Finger-rings, Greek, Etruscan and Roman, by F. H. Marshall, 1907 (23s.), and the Catalogue of the Jewellery, Greek, Etruscan and Roman, by the same, 1911 (358.). Copies can be borrowed from the attendant. The numbers of objects in the Jewellery Catalogue are painted on maroon labels,
A wall-case on the right contains small objects in silver. These include a series of silver rings, with intaglio designs cut in the silver or in set stones. See also the trappings of a cuirass, from Xanten, on the Rhine, inscribed with the name of Plinius (Plinio praefecto), probably Pliny the Elder.
No. 1633. A fine oak wreath of silver, with silver-gilt acorns.
On the walls are six mural paintings, which formed a part of the decoration of the ceiling of the tomb of the Nasonii, discovered in 1674, on the Flaminian Way, near Rome.
The principal subject is a scene of the rape of Proserpine by Pluto, who carries her off in his chariot. The other paintings in the corridor include a scene of a music lesson, from Pompeii ; a series of smaller examples of various styles of ancient fresco painting ; also a fresco from a villa at Boscoreale (near Pompeii). The young Bacchus leans on the shoulder of an old Silenus (who plays the lyre) and pours out wine for his panther.
ROOM OF GOLD ORNAMENTS
This room contains a large part of the works of art in precious materials of two Departments-namely, of Greek and Roman, and of British and Mediaeval Antiquities. Those of the former, with which only this Guide is concerned, occupy (subject to rearrangement) the Wall-cases A-H; also the upper part of Wall-cases J--L; Cases P (lower part) and R; two sides (T and U) of the
shaped table-case, the central case (X), and the smaller cases before the three windows.
THE PORTLAND VASE.
To the right end of the room, above Table-case T, is placed the celebrated glass vase, deposited by its owner, the Duke of Portland, in the British Museum, and popularly known as the Portland Vase (Plate XX.). It was found, according to a tradition of doubtful value, in a marble sarcophagus in the Monte del Grano, near Rome, and was formerly in the Barberini Palace. The sarcophagus (of which a cast is shown in the Gallery of Casts) is a work of the third century of our era, but the vase must be assigned to the beginning of the Roman Empire. The ground of the vase is of blue glass; the design is cut in a layer of opaque white glass, after the manner of a cameo. The whole of the white layer, and parts also of the blue underneath, were cut away in the
spaces between the figures. On account of the difficulty of carving in glass, and the brittle nature of the material, which might at any moment break in the hands of the artist, works of this kind are of great rarity.
The interpretation of the subjects is doubtful. That on the obverse, with a woman seated, approached by a lover led on by Cupid, is supposed to represent Thetis consenting to be the bride of Peleus in the presence of Poseidon. That on the reverse, with a sleeping figure and two others, is supposed to be Peleus watching his bride Thetis asleep, while Aphroditè presides over the scene,
On the bottom of the vase, which is detached, is a bust, probably of Paris, wearing a Phrygian cap.
The Portland Vase was wantonly broken to atoms by a visitor in February, 1845. A water-colour drawing is exhibited showing the fragments to which it was reduced. The vase was made familiar by copies issued by Josiah Wedgwood, the potter. The vases first issued were finished by handwork, and specimens are of great scarcity (see a specimen in the Ceramic Room), but the subsequent copies, cast from moulds, are of no particular value.
GOLD ORNAMENTS, ETC.
Greek, Phoenician, Etruscan, and Roman.* Of the period antecedent to the historical age of Greece, and now commonly known as the 'Mycenaean' period (see pp. 2 and 193), several groups of gold ornaments are exhibited : (1) from Enkomi and other early sites in Cyprus ; (2) from one of the Greek Islands, perhaps Aegina; (3) from Crete and Ialysos in Rhodes.
(1) Enkomi. Compartment 6 (one-half) and the greater part of the table-cases before the three windows contain a remarkable series of objects of the late Mycenaean class, obtained principally from the excavations carried on at Enkomi, near Salamis (in Cyprus), with funds bequeathed by Miss E. T. Turner.f These excavations were made during the spring and summer of the year 1896 on a site that had not previously been touched in modern times. Comparisons between objects found at Enkomi and corresponding Egyptian finds seem to show that the general date of the site was between 1300 and 1100 B.C., with a few later elements. Among the finds are numerous gold diadems, plain or stamped with patterns, gold mouth pieces, earrings, rings, beads and other ornaments, engraved stones and cylinders, carved ivories, etc. A series of earring pendants approximating to the bull's head shape show in
* See above, p. 127, for the Catalogue of the Jewellery.
+ For the excavations at Enkomi, see Excavations in Cyprus, by A. S. Murray, A. H. Smith, and H. B. Walters (30s.).
an interesting way the process of transition from a representation to a conventional decoration (fig. 53).
Compartment 6 (right half). Engraved cylinders, scarabs, etc.,
from Enkomi, together with a few from other Mycenaean sites in Cyprus; also stamped gold diadems, and (821) a silver cup of typical Mycenaean form. (Beside it is a gold cup, no. 820, from the Forman collection, of the same period.)
The shade above compartments 10, 11 contains an ivory draught-box, with reliefs. On the top is the board, divided into
squares; the central row has twelve squares,
Third Egyptian Room.)
On one side a man in a chariot drawn by galloping horses pursues WW a herd of deer and ibex. He is drawing his
bow, but most of the deer are already transfixed with his arrows. On the opposite side are more varied scenes of hunting. The figure in the chariot pursues cattle (one of the bulls has turned against him), deer and ibex. A
figure on foot is spearing a lion. At the closed Pendant from Enkomi. end of the box are two bulls reclining, and at
the other end is a smaller relief of a pair of ibex standing on each side of a sacred tree. (For other ivories from Enkomi, cf. p. 127.)
Further objects from Enkomi are shown in the windows. In