History of Phoenicia - George Rawlinson

Aesthetic Art

Recent discoveries of Phoenician artistic remains—Phoenician sculpture—Statues and busts—Animal forms—Bas-reliefs—Hercules and Geryon—Scenes on sarcophagi—Phoenicians metal castings—Jachin and Boaz—Solomon's "Molten Sea"—Solomon's lavers—Statuettes in bronze—Embossed work upon cups and paterae—Cup of Praeneste—Intaglios on cylinders and gems—Phoenician painting—Tinted statues—Paintings on terra-cotta and clay.

Phoenician aesthetic art embraced sculpture, metal-casting, intaglio, and painting to a small extent. Situated as the Phoenicians were, in the immediate neighbourhood of nations which had practised from a remote antiquity the imitation of natural forms, and brought into contact by their commercial transactions with others, with whom art of every kind was in the highest esteem—adroit moreover with their hands, clever, active, and above all else practical—it was scarcely possible that they should not, at an early period in their existence as a nation, interest themselves in what they found so widely appreciated, and become themselves ambitious of producing such works as they saw everywhere produced, admired, and valued. The mere commercial instinct would lead them to supply a class of goods which commanded a high price in the world's markets; while it is not to be supposed that they were, any more than other nations, devoid of those aesthetic propensities which find a vent in what are commonly called the "fine arts," or less susceptible of that natural pleasure which successful imitation evokes from all who find themselves capable of it. Thus, we might have always safely concluded, even without any material evidence of it, that the Phoenicians had an art of their own, either original or borrowed; but we are now able to do more than this. Recent researches in Phoenicia Proper, in Cyprus, in Sardina, and elsewhere, have recovered such a mass of Phoenician artistic remains, that it is possible to form a tolerably complete idea of the character of their aesthetic art, of its methods, its aims, and its value.

Phoenician sculpture, even at its best, is somewhat rude. The country possesses no marble, and has not even any stone of a fine grain. The cretaceous limestone, which is the principal geological formation, is for the most part so pierced with small holes and so thickly sown with fossil shells as to be quite unsuited for the chisel; and even the better blocks, which the native sculptors were careful to choose, are not free from these defects, and in no case offer a grain that is satisfactory. To meet these difficulties, the Phoenician sculptor occasionally imported his blocks either from Egypt or from the volcanic regions of Taurus and Amanus; but it was not until he had transported himself to Cyprus, and found there an abundance of a soft, but fairly smooth, compact, and homogeneous limestone, that he worked freely, and produced either statues or bas-reliefs in any considerable number. The Cyprian limestone is very easy to work. "It is a whitish stone when it comes out of the quarry, but by continued exposure to the air the tone becomes a greyish yellow, which, though a little dull, is not disagreeable to the eye. The nail can make an impression on it, and it is worked by the chisel much more easily and more rapidly than marble. But it is in the plastic arts as in literature and poetry—what costs but little trouble has small chance of enduring. The Cyprian limestone is too soft to furnish the effects and the contrasts which marble offers, so to speak, spontaneously; it is incapable of receiving the charming polish which makes so strong an opposition to the dark shadows of the parts where the chisel has scooped deep. The chisel, whatever efforts it may make and however laboriously it may be applied, cannot impress on such material the strong and bold touches which indicate the osseous structure, and make the muscles and the veins show themselves under the epidermis in Greek statuary. The sculptor's work is apt to be at once finikin and lax; it wants breadth, and it wants decision. Moreover, the material, having little power of resistance, retains but ill what the chisel once impressed; the more delicate markings and the more lifelike touches that it once received, it loses easily through friction or exposure to rough weather. A certain number of the sculptured figures found by M. Di Cesnola at Athiénau were discovered under conditions that were quite peculiar, having passed from the shelter of a covered chamber to that of a protecting bed of dust, which had hardened and adhered to their surfaces; and these figures had preserved an unusual freshness, and seem as if just chiselled; but, saving these exceptions, the Cypriot figures have their angles rounded, and their projections softened down. It is like a page of writing, where the ink, before it had time to dry, preserving its sharpness of tone, has been absorbed by the blotting paper and has left only pale and feeble traces."

Another striking defect in the Phoenician, or at any rate in the Cyprio-Phoenician, sculpture, and one that cannot be excused on account of any inherent weakness in the material, is the thinness and flatness of the greater part of the figures. The sculptor seems to have been furnished by the stonecutter, not so much with solid blocks of stone, as with tolerably thick slabs. These he fashioned carefully in front, and produced statues, which, viewed in front, are lifelike and fairly satisfactory. But to the sides and back of the slab he paid little attention, not intending that his work should be looked at from all quarters, but that the spectator should directly face it. The statues were made to stand against walls, or in niches, or back to back, the heels and backs touching; they were not, properly speaking, works in the round, but rather alti relievi a little exaggerated, not actually part of the wall, but laid closely against it. A striking example of this kind of work may be seen in a figure now at New York, which appears to represent a priest, whereof a front view is given by Di Cesnola in his "Cyprus," and a side view by Perrot and Chipiez in their "History of Ancient Art." The head and neck are in good proportion, but the rest of the figure is altogether unduly thin, while for some space above the feet it is almost literally a slab, scarcely fashioned at all.

This fault is less pronounced in some statues than in others, and from a certain number of the statuettes is wholly absent. This is notably the case in a figure found at Golgi, which represents a female arrayed in a long robe, the ample folds of which she holds back with one hand, while the other hand is advanced, and seems to have held a lotus flower. Three graceful tresses fall on either side of the neck, round which is a string of beads or pearls, with an amulet as pendant; while a long veil, surmounted by a diadem, hangs from the back of the head. This statue is in no respect narrow or flat, as may be seen especially from the side view given by Di Cesnola; but it is short and inelegant, though not wanting in dignity; and it is disfigured by sandalled feet of a very disproportionate size, which stand out offensively in front. The figure has been viewed as a representation of the goddess Astarte or Ashtoreth; but the identification can scarcely be regarded as more than a reasonable conjecture.

The general defects of Phoenician statuary, besides want of finish and flatness, are a stiff and conventional treatment, recalling the art of Egypt and Assyria, a want of variety, and a want of life. Most of the figures stand evenly on the two feet, and have the arms pendant at the two sides, with the head set evenly, neither looking to the right nor to the left, while even the arrangement of the drapery is one of great uniformity. In the points where there is any variety, the variety is confined within very narrow limits. One foot may be a little advanced; one arm may be placed across the breast, either as confined by the robe, or as holding something, e.g. a bird or a flower. In female figures both arms may be laid along the thighs, or both be bent across the bosom, with the hands clasping the breasts, or one hand may be so placed, and the other depend in front. The hair and beard are mostly arranged with the utmost regularity in crisp curls, resembling the Assyrian; where tresses are worn, they are made to hang, whatever their number, with exact uniformity on either side. Armlets and bracelets appear always in pairs, and are exactly similar; the two sides of a costume correspond perfectly; and in the groups the figures have, as nearly as possible, the same attitude.

Repose is no doubt the condition of human existence which statuary most easily and most naturally expresses; and few things are more obnoxious to a refined taste than that sculpture which, like that of Roubiliac, affects movement, fidget, flutter, and unquiet. But in the Phoenician sculpture the repose is overdone; except in the expression of faces, there is scarcely any life at all. The figures do nothing; they simply stand to be looked at. And they stand stiffly, sometimes even awkwardly, rarely with anything like elegance or grace. The heads, indeed, have life and vigour, especially after the artists have become acquainted with Greek models; but they are frequently too large for the bodies whereto they are attached, and the face is apt to wear a smirk that is exceedingly disagreeable. This is most noticeable in the Cypriot series, as will appear by the accompanying representations; but it is not confined to them, since it reappears in the bronzes found in Phoenicia Proper.

Phoenician statues are almost always more or less draped. Sometimes nothing is worn besides the short tunic, or shenti, of the Egyptians, which begins below the navel and terminates at the knee. Sometimes there is added to this a close-fitting shirt, like a modern "jersey," which has short sleeves and clings to the figure, so that it requires careful observation to distinguish between a statue thus draped and one which has the shenti only. But there are also a number of examples where the entire figure is clothed from the head to the ankles, and nothing is left bare but the face, the hands, and the feet. A cap, something like a Phrygian bonnet, covers the head; a long-sleeved robe reaches from the neck to the ankles, or sometimes rests upon the feet; and above this is a mantle or scarf thrown over the left shoulder, and hanging down nearly to the knees. Ultimately a drapery greatly resembling that of the Greeks seems to have been introduced; a long cloak, or chlamys, is worn, which falls into numerous folds, and is disposed about the person according to the taste and fancy of the wearer, but so as to leave the right arm free. Statues of this class are scarcely distinguishable from Greek statues of a moderately good type.

Phoenician sculptors in the round did not very often indulge in the representation of animal forms. The lion, however, was sometimes chiselled in stone, either partially, as in a block of stone found by M. Renan at Um-el-Awamid, or completely, as in a statuette brought by General Di Cesnola from Cyprus. The representations hitherto discovered have not very much merit. We may gather from them that the sculptors were unacquainted with the animal itself, had never seen the king of beasts sleeping in the shade or stretching himself and yawning as he awoke, or walking along with a haughty and majestic slowness, or springing with one bound upon his prey, but had simply studied without much attention or interest the types furnished them by Egyptian or Assyrian artists, who were familiar with the beast himself. The representations are consequently in every case feeble and conventional; in some they verge on the ridiculous. What, for instance, can be weaker than the figure above given from the great work of Perrot and Chipiez, with its good-humoured face, its tongue hanging out of its mouth, its tottering forelegs, and its general air of imbecility? The lioness' head represented in the same work is better, but still leaves much to be desired, falling, as it does, very far behind the best Assyrian models. Nor were the sculptors much more successful in their mode of expressing animals with whose forms they were perfectly well acquainted. The sheep carried on the back of a shepherd, brought from Cyprus and now in the museum of New York, is a very ill-shaped sheep, and the doves so often represented are very poor doves. They are just recognisable, and that is the most that can be said for them. A dog in stone, found at Athiénau, is somewhat better, equally the dogs of the Egyptians and Assyrians. On the other hand, the only fully modelled horses that have been found are utterly childish and absurd.

The reliefs of the Phoenicians are very superior to their statues. They vary in their character from almost the lowest kind of relief to the highest. On dresses, on shields, on slabs, and on some sarcophagi it is much higher than is usual even in Greece. A bas-relief of peculiar interest was discovered at Athiénau by General Di Cesnola, and has been represented both by him and by the Italian traveller Ceccaldi. It represents Hercules capturing the cattle of Geryon from the herdsman Eurytion, and gives us reason to believe that that myth was a native Phoenician legend adopted by the Greeks, and not a Hellenic one imported into Phoenicia. The general character of the sculpture is archaic and Assyrian; nor is there a trace of Greek influence about it. Hercules, standing on an elevated block of stone at the extreme left, threatens the herdsman, who responds by turning towards him, and making a menacing gesture with his right hand, while in his left, instead of a club, he carries an entire tree. His hair and beard are curled in the Assyrian fashion, while his figure, though short, is strong and muscular. In front of him are his cattle, mixed up in a confused and tangled mass, some young, but most of them full grown, and amounting to the number of seventeen. They are in various attitudes, and are drawn with much spirit, recalling groups of cattle in the sculptures of Assyria and Egypt, but surpassing any such group in the vigour of their life and movement. Above, in an upper field or plain, divided from the under one by a horizontal line, is the triple-headed dog, Orthros, running full speed towards Hercules, and scarcely checked by the arrow which has met him in mid career, and entered his neck at the point of junction between the second and the third head. The bas-relief is three feet two inches in length, and just a little short of two feet in height. It served to ornament a huge block of stone which formed the pedestal of a colossal statue of Hercules, eight feet nine inches high.

A sarcophagus, on which the relief is low, has been described and figured by Di Cesnola, who discovered it in the same locality as the sculpture which has just engaged our attention. The sarcophagus, which had a lid guarded by lions at the four corners, was ornamented at both ends and along both sides by reliefs. The four scenes depicted appear to be distinct and separate. At one end Perseus, having cut off Medusa's head and placed it in his wallet, which he carries behind him by means of a stick passed over his shoulder, departs homewards followed by his dog. Medusa's body, though sunk upon one knee, is still upright, and from the bleeding neck there spring the forms of Chrysaor and Pegasus. At the opposite end of the tomb is a biga drawn by two horses, and containing two persons, the charioteer and the owner, who is represented as bearded, and rests his hand upon the chariot-rim. The horse on the right hand, which can alone be distinctly seen, is well proportioned and spirited. He is impatient and is held in by the driver, and prevented from proceeding at more than a foot's pace. On the longer sides are a hunting scene, and a banqueting scene. In a wooded country, indicated by three tall trees, a party, consisting of five individuals, engages in the pleasures of the chase. Four of the five are accoutred like Greek soldiers; they wear crested helmets, cuirasses, belts, and a short tunic ending in a fringe: the arms which they carry are a spear and a round buckler or shield. The fifth person is an archer, and has a lighter equipment; he wears a cloth about his loins, a short tunic, and a round cap on his head. The design forms itself into two groups. On the right two of the spearmen are engaged with a wild boar, which they are wounding with their lances; on the left the two other spearmen and the archer are attacking a wild bull. In the middle a cock separates the two groups, while at the two extremities two animal forms, a horse grazing and a dog trying to make out a scent, balance each other. The fourth side of the sarcophagus presents us with a banqueting scene. On four couches, much like the Assyrian, are arranged the banqueters. At the extreme right the couch is occupied by a single person, who has a long beard and extends a wine-cup towards an attendant, a naked youth, who is advancing towards him with a wine-jug in one hand, and a ladle or strainer in the other. The three other couches are occupied respectively by three couples, each comprising a male and a female. The male figure reclines in the usual attitude, half sitting and half lying, with the left arm supported on two pillows; the female sits on the edge of the couch, with her feet upon a footstool. The males hold wine-cups; of the females, one plays upon the lyre, while the two others fondle with one hand their lover or husband. A fourth female figure, erect in the middle between the second and third couches, plays the double flute for the delectation of the entire party. All the figures, except the boy attendant, are decently draped, in robes with many folds, resembling the Greek. At the side of each couch is a table, on which are spread refreshments, while at the extreme left is a large bowl or amphora, from which the wine-cups may be replenished. This is placed under the shade of a tree, which tells us that the festivity takes place in a garden.

No one can fail to see, in this entire series of sculptures, the dominant influence of Greece. While the form of the tomb, and the lions that ornament the covering, are unmistakably Cyprio-Phoenician, the reliefs contain scarcely a feature which is even Oriental; all has markedly the colouring and the physiognomy of Hellenism. Yet Cyprian artists probably executed the work. There are little departures from Greek models, which indicate the "barbarian" workman, as the introduction of trees in the backgrounds, the shape of the furniture, the recurved wings of the Gorgon, and the idea of hunting the wild bull. But the figures, the proportions, the draperies, the attitudes, the chariot, the horse, are almost pure Greek. There is a grace and ease in the modelling, an elegance, a variety, to which Asiatic art, left to itself, never attained. The style, however, is not that of Greece at its best, but of archaic Greece. There is something too much of exact symmetry, both in the disposition of the groups and in the arrangement of the accessories; nay, even the very folds of the garments are over-stiff and regular. All is drawn in exact profile; and in the composition there is too much of balance and correspondence. Still, a new life shows itself through the scenes. There is variety in the movements; there is grace and suppleness in the forms; there is lightness in the outline, vigour in the attitudes, and beauty spread over the whole work. It cannot be assigned an earlier date than the fifth century B.C., and is most probably later, since it took time for improved style to travel from the head-centres of Greek art to the remoter provinces, and still more time for it to percolate through the different layers of Greek society until it reached the stratum of native Cyprian artistic culture.

We may contrast with the refined work of the Athiénau sarcophagus the far ruder, but more genuinely native, designs of a tomb of the same kind found on the site of Amathus. On this sarcophagus, the edges of which are most richly adorned with patterning, there are, as upon the other, four reliefs, two of them occupying the sides and two the ends. Those at the ends are curious, but have little artistic merit. They consist, in each case, of a caryatid figure four times repeated, representations, respectively, of Astarté and of a pygmy god, who, according to some, is Bes, and, according to others, Melkarth or Esmun. The figures of Astarté are rude, as are generally her statues. They have the hair arranged in three rows of crisp curls, the arms bent, and the hands supporting the breasts. The only ornament worn by them is a double necklace of pearls or round beads. The representations of the pygmy god have more interest. They remind us of what Herodotus affirms concerning the Phoenician pataikoi, which were used for the figure-heads of ships, and which he compares to the Egyptian images of Phthah, or Ptah, the god of creation. They are ugly dwarf figures, with a large misshapen head, a bushy beard, short arms, fat bodies, a short striped tunic, and thick clumsy legs. Only one of the four figures is at present complete, the sarcophagus having been entered by breaking a hole into it at this end.

The work at the sides is much superior to that at the ends. The two panels represent, apparently, a single scene. The scene is a procession, but whether funeral or military it is hard to decide. First come two riders on horseback, wearing conical caps and close-fitting jerkins; they are seated on a species of saddle, which is kept in place by a board girth passing round the horse's belly, and by straps attached in front. The two cavaliers are followed by four bigae. The first contains the principal personages of the composition, who sits back in his car, and shades himself with a parasol, the mark of high rank in the East, while his charioteer sits in front of him and holds the reins. The second car has three occupants; the third two; and the fourth also two, one of whom leans back and converses with the footmen, who close the procession. These form a group of three, and seem to be soldiers, since they bear shield and spear; but their costume, a loose robe wrapped round the form, is rather that of civilians. The horses are lightly caparisoned, with little more than a head-stall and a collar; but they carry on their heads a conspicuous fan-like crest. MM. Perrot and Chipiez thus sum up their description of this monument:—"Both in the ornamentation and in the sculpture properly so-called there is a mixture of two traditions and two inspirations, diverse one from the other. The persons who chiselled the figures in the procession which fills the two principal sides of the sarcophagus were the pupils of Grecian statuaries; they understood how to introduce variety into the attitudes of those whom they represented, and even into the movements of the horses. Note, in this connection, the steeds of the two cavaliers in front; one of them holds up his head, the other bends it towards the ground. The draperies are also cleverly treated, especially those of the foot soldiers who bring up the rear, and resemble in many respects the costume of the Greeks. On the other hand, the types of divinity, repeated four times at the two ends of the monument, have nothing that is Hellenic about them, but are borrowed from the Pantheon of Phoenicia. Even in the procession itself—the train of horsemen, footmen, and chariots, which is certainly the sculptor's true subject—there are features which recall the local customs and usages of the East. The conical caps of the two cavaliers closely resemble those which we see on the heads of many of the Cyprian statues; the parasol which shades the head of the great person in the first biga is the symbol of Asiatic royalty; lastly, the fan-shaped plume which rises above the heads of all the chariot horses is an ornament that one sees in the same position in Assyria and in Lycia, whensoever the sculptor desires to represent horses magnificently caparisoned."

Sarcophagi recently exhumed in the vicinity of Sidon are said to be adorned with reliefs superior to any previously known specimens of Phoenician art. As, however, no drawings or photographs of these sculptures have as yet reached Western Europe, it will perhaps be sufficient in this place to direct attention to the descriptions of them which an eye-witness has published in the "Journal de Beyrout." No trustworthy critical estimate can be formed from mere descriptions, and it will therefore be necessary to reserve our judgment until the sculptures themselves, or correct representations of them, are accessible.

The metal castings of the Phoenicians, according to the accounts which historians give of them, were of a very magnificent and extraordinary character. The Hiram employed by Solomon in the ornamentation of the Temple at Jerusalem, who was a native of Tyre, designed and executed by his master's orders a number of works in metal, which seem to have been veritable masterpieces. The strangest of all were the two pillars of bronze, which bore the names of "Jachin" and "Boaz,"and stood in front of the Temple porch, or possibly under it. These pillars, with their capitals, were between thirty-four and thirty-five feet high, and had a diameter of six feet. They were cast hollow, the bronze whereof they were composed having a uniform thickness of three inches, or thereabouts. Their ornamentation was elaborate. A sort of chain-work covered the "belly" or lower part of the capitals, while above and below were representations of pomegranates in two rows, probably at the top and bottom of the "belly," the number of the pomegranates upon each pillar being two hundred.At the summit of the whole was a sort of "lily-work" or imitation of the lotus blossom, a "motive" adopted from Egypt. Various representations of the pillars have been attempted in works upon Phoenician art, the most remarkable being those designed by M. Chipiez, and published in the "Histoire de l'Art dans l'Antiquité." Perhaps, however, there is more to be said in favour of M. de Vogué's view, as enunciated in his work on the Jewish Temple.

The third great work of metallurgy which Hiram constructed for Solomon was "the molten sea." This was an enormous bronze basin, fifteen feet in diameter, supported on the backs of twelve oxen, grouped in sets of three. The basin stood fourteen or fifteen feet above the level of the Temple Court, and was a vast reservoir, always kept full of water, for the ablutions of the priests. There was an ornamentation of "knops" or "gourds," in two rows, about the "brim" of the reservoir; and it must have been supplied in its lower part with a set of stopcocks, by means of which the water could be drawn off when needed. Representations of the "molten sea" have been given by Mangeant, De Vogué, Thenius, and others; but all of them are, necessarily, conjectural. The design of Mangeant is reproduced in the preceding representation. It is concluded that the oxen must have been of colossal size in order to bear a proper proportion to the basin, and not present the appearance of being crushed under an enormous weight.

Next in importance to these three great works were ten minor ones, made for the Jewish Temple by the same artist. These were lavers mounted on wheels, which could be drawn or pushed to any part of the Temple Court where water might be required. The lavers were of comparatively small size, capable of containing only one-fiftieth part of the contents of the "molten sea," but they were remarkable for their ornamentation. Each was supported upon a "base;" and the bases, which seem to have been panelled, contained, in the different compartments, figures of lions, oxen, and cherubim, either single or in groups. On the top of the base, which seems to have been square, was a circular stand or socket, a foot and a half in height, into which the laver or basin fitted. This, too, was panelled, and ornamented with embossed work, representing lions, cherubim, and palm-trees. Each base was emplaced upon four wheels, which are said to have resembled chariot wheels, but which were molten in one piece, naves, spokes, and felloes together. A restoration by M. Mangeant, given by Perrot and Chipiez in the fourth volume of their "History of Ancient Art," is striking, and leaves little to be desired.

Hiram is also said to have made for Solomon a number of pots, shovels, basins, flesh-hooks, and other instruments, which were all used in the Temple service; but as no description is given of any of these works, even their general character can only be conjectured. We may, however, reasonably suppose them not to have differed greatly from the objects of a similar description found in Cyprus by General Di Cesnola.

From the conjectural, which may amuse, but can scarcely satisfy, the earnest student, it is fitting that we should now pass to the known and actual. Phoenician metal-work of various descriptions has been found recently in Phoenicia Proper, in Cyprus, and in Sardinia; and, though much of it consists of works of utility or of mere personal adornment, which belong to another branch of the present enquiry, there is a considerable portion which is more or less artistic and which rightly finds its place in the present chapter. The Phoenicians, though they did not, so far as we know, attempt with any frequency the production, in bronze or other metal, of the full-sized human form, were fond of fabricating, especially in bronze, the smaller kinds of figures which are known as "figurines" or "statuettes." They also had a special talent for producing embossed metal-work of a highly artistic character in the shape of cups, bowls, and dishes or paterae, whereon scenes of various kinds were represented with a vigour and precision that are quite admirable. Some account of these two classes of works must here be given.

The statuettes commence with work of the rudest kind. The Phoenician sites in Sardinia have yielded in abundance grotesque figures of gods and men, from three or four to six or eight inches high, which must be viewed as Phoenician productions, though perhaps they were not the best works which Phoenician artists could produce, but such as were best suited to the demands of the Sardinian market. The savage Sards would not have appreciated beauty or grace; but to the savage mind there is something congenial in grotesqueness. Hence gods with four arms and four eyes, warriors with huge horns projecting from their helmets,tall forms of extraordinary leanness, figures with abnormally large heads and hands, huge noses, projecting eyes, and various other deformities. For the home consumption statuettes of a similar character were made; but they were neither so rude nor so devoid of artistic merit. There is one in the Louvre, which was found at Tortosa, in Northern Phoenicia, approaching nearly to the Sardinian type, while others have less exaggeration, and seem intended seriously. In Cyprus bronzes of a higher order have been discovered. One is a figure of a youth, perhaps Aesculapius, embracing a serpent; another is a female form of much elegance, which may have been the handle of a vase or jug; it springs from a grotesque bracket, and terminates in a bar ornamented at either end with heads of animals. The complete bronze figure found near Curium, which is supposed to represent Apollo and is figured by Di Cesnola, is probably not the production of a Phoenician artists, but a sculpture imported from Greece.

The embossed work upon cups and paterae is sometimes of great simplicity, sometimes exceedingly elaborate. A patera of the simplest kind was found by General Di Cesnola in the treasury of Curium and is figured in his work. At the bottom of the dish, in the middle, is a rosette with twenty-two petals springing from a central disk; this is surrounded by a ring whereon are two wavy lines of ribbon intertwined. Four deer, with strongly recurved horns, spaced at equal intervals, stand on the outer edge of the ring in a walking attitude. Behind them and between them are a continuous row of tall stiff reeds terminating in blossoms, which are supposed to represent the papyrus plant. The reeds are thirty-two in number. We may compare with this the medallion at the bottom of a cup found at Caere in Italy, which has been published by Grifi. Here, on a chequered ground, stands a cow with two calves, one engaged in providing itself with its natural sustenance, the other disporting itself in front of its dam. In the background are a row of alternate papyrus blossoms and papyrus buds bending gracefully to the right and to the left, so as to form a sort of framework to the main design. Above the cow and in front of the papyrus plants two birds wing their flight from left to right across the scene.

A bronze bowl, discovered at Idalium (Dali) in Cyprus, is, like these specimens, Egyptian in its motive, but is more ambitious in that it introduces the human form. On a throne of state sits a goddess, draped in a long striped robe which reaches to the feet, and holding a lotus flower in her right hand and a ball or apple in her left. Bracelets adorn her wrists and anklets her feet. Behind her stands a band of three instrumental performers, all of them women, and somewhat variously costumed: the first plays the double pipe, the second performs on a lyre or harp, the third beats the tambourine. In front of the goddess is a table or altar, to which a votary approaches bringing offerings. Then follows another table whereon two vases are set; finally comes a procession of six females, holding hands, who are perhaps performing a solemn dance. Behind them are a row of lotus pillars, the supports probably of a temple, wherein the scene takes place. The human forms in this design are ill-proportioned, and very rudely traced. The heads and hands are too large, the faces are grotesque, and the figures wholly devoid of grace. Mimetic art is seen clearly in its first stage, and the Phoenician artist who has designed the bowl has probably fallen short of his Egyptian models.

Animal and human forms intermixed occur on a silver patera found at Athiénau, which is more complicated and elaborate than the objects hitherto described, but which is, like them, strikingly Egyptian.A small rosette occupies the centre; round it is, apparently, a pond or lake, in which fish are disporting themselves; but the fish are intermixed with animal and human forms—a naked female stretches out her arms after a cow; a man clothed in a shenti endeavours to seize a horse. The pond is edged by papyrus plants, which are alternately in blossom and in bud. A zigzag barrier separates this central ornamentation from that of the outer part of the dish. Here a marsh is represented in which are growing papyrus and other water-plants. Aquatic birds swim on the surface or fly through the tall reeds. Four boats form the chief objects in this part of the field. In one, which is fashioned like a bird, there sits under a canopy a grandee, with an attendant in front and a rower or steersman at the stern. Behind him, in a second boat, is a band consisting of three undraped females, one of whom plays a harp and another a tambourine, while the third keeps time with her hands. A man with a punt-pole directs the vessel from the stern. In the third boat, which has a freight of wine-jars, a cook is preparing a bird for the grandee's supper. The fourth boat contains three rowers, who possibly have the vessel of the grandee in tow. The first and second boats are separated by two prancing steeds, the second and third by two cows, the third and fourth by a chariot and pair. It is difficult to explain the mixture of the aquatic with the terrestrial in this piece; but perhaps the grandee is intended to be enjoying himself in a marshy part of his domain, where he might ride, drive, or boat, according to his pleasure. The whole scene is rather Egyptian than Phoenician or Cypriot, and one cannot help suspecting that the patera was made for an Egyptian customer.

There is a patera at Athens, almost certainly Phoenician, which may well be selected to introduce the more elaborate and complicated of the Phoenician works of art in this class. It has been figured,and carefully described by MM. Perrot and Chipiez in these terms:—"The medallion in the centre is occupied by a rosette with eight points. The zone outside this, in which are distributed the personages represented, is divided into four compartments by four figures, which correspond to each other in pairs. They lift themselves out of a trellis-work, bounded on either side by a light pillar without a base. The capitals which crown the pillars recall those of the Ionic order, but the abacus is much more developed. A winged globe, stretching from pillar to pillar, roofs in this sort of little chapel; each is the shrine of a divinity. One of the divinities is that nude goddess, clasping her breasts with her hands, whom we have already met with in the Phoenician world more than once; the other is a bearded personage, whose face is framed in by his abundant hair; he appears to be dressed in a close-fitting garment, made of a material folded in narrow plaits. We do not know what name to give the personage. Each of the figures is repeated twice. The rest of the field is occupied by four distinct subjects, two of them being scenes of adoration. In one may be recognised the figure of Isis-Athor, seated on a sort of camp-stool, and giving suck to the young Horus;on an altar in front of the goddess is placed the disk of the moon, enveloped (as we have seen it elsewhere) by a crescent which recalls the moon's phases. Behind the altar stands a personage whose sex is not defined; the right hand, which is raised, holds a patera, while the left, which falls along the hip, has the ankh or crux ansata. Another of the scenes corresponds to this, and offers many striking analogies. The altar indeed is of a different form, but it supports exactly the same symbols. The goddess sits upon a throne with her feet on a footstool; she has no child; in one hand she holds out a cup, in the other a lotus blossom. The personage who confronts her wears a conical cap, and is clothed, like the worshipper of the corresponding representation, in a long robe pressed close to the body by a girdle a cordeliere; he has also the crux ansata, and holds in the right hand an object the character and use of which I am unable to conjecture. We may associate with these two scenes of homage and worship another representation in which there figure three musicians. The instruments are the same as usual—the lyre, the tambourine, and the double pipe; two of the performers march at a steady pace; the third, the one who beats the metal(?) disk, dances, as he plays, with much vigour and spirit. In the last compartment we come again upon a group that we have already met with in one of the cups from Idalium. . . . A beardless individual, clothed in the shenti, has put his foot upon the body of a griffin, which, in struggling against the pressure, flings its hind quarters into the air in a sort of wild caper; the conqueror, however, holds it fast by the plume of feathers which rises from its head, and plunges his sword into its half-open beak. It is this group, drawn in relief, and on a larger scale, that we meet with for a second time on the Athenian patera; but in this case the group is augmented by a second personage, who takes part in the struggle. This is an old man with a beard who is armed with a formidable pike. Both the combatants wear conical caps upon their heads, similar to those which we have noticed as worn by a number of the statues from Cyprus; but the cap of the right-hand personage terminates in a button, whereto is attached a long appendage, which looks like the tail of an ox." The Egyptian character of much of this design is incontestable. The ankh, the lotus blossom in the hand, the winged disk, are purely Egyptian forms; the Isis Athor with Horus in her lap speaks for itself; and the worshipper in front of Isis has an unmistakably Egyptian head dress. But the contest with the winged griffin is more Assyrian than Egyptian; the seat whereon Isis sits recalls a well-known Assyrian type; one of the altars has a distinctly Assyrian character, while the band of musicians, the Astarté figures standing in their shrines, and the pillars which support, and frame in, the shrines are genuine Phoenician contributions. Artistically this patera is much upon a par with those from Dali and Athiénau, which have been already described.

Our space will not admit of our pursuing this subject much further. We cannot give descriptions of all the twenty paterae, pronounced by the best critics to be Phoenician, which are contained in the museums of Europe and America. Excellent representations of most of these works of art will be found in Longpérier's "Musée Napoléon III.," in M. Clermont-Ganneau's "Imagerie Phénicienne," and in the "Histoire de l'Art dans l'Antiquité" of MM. Perrot et Chipiez. The bowls brought from Larnaca, from Curium, and from Amathus are especially interesting.We must, however, conclude our survey with a single specimen of the most elaborate kind of patera; and, this being the case, we cannot hesitate to give the preference to the famous "Cup of Praeneste," which has been carefully figured and described in two of the three works above cited.

The cup in question consists of a thin plate of silver covered over with a layer of gold; its greatest diameter is seven inches and three-fifths. The under or outside is without ornament; the interior is engraved with a number of small objects in low relief. In the centre, and surrounded by a circle of beads, there is a subject to which we shall presently have to return. The zone immediately outside this medallion, which is not quite an inch in width, is filled with a string of eight horses, all of them proceeding at a trot, and following each other to the right. Over each horse two birds fly in the same direction. The horses' tails are extraordinarily conventional, consisting of a stem with branches, and resembling a conventional palm branch. Outside this zone there is an exterior and a wider one, which is bounded on its outer edge by a huge snake, whose scaly length describes an almost exact circle, excepting towards the tail, where there are some slight sinuosities. This serpent, whose head reaches and a little passes the thin extremity of the tail, is "drawn," says M. Clermont-Ganneau, "with the hand of a master."It has been compared with the well-known Egyptian and Phoenician symbol for the {kosmos} or universe, which was a serpent with its tail in its mouth. "Naturally," he continues, "the outer zone by its very position offers the greatest room for development. The artist is here at his ease, and having before him a field relatively so vast, has represented on it a series of scenes, remarkably alike for the style of their execution, the diversity of their subject-matter, the number of the persons introduced, and the nature of the acts which they accomplish. . . . The scenes, however, are not, as some have imagined, a series of detached fantastic subjects, arbitrarily chosen and capriciously grouped, a mere confused melée of men, animals, chariots, and other objects; on the contrary, they form a little history, a plastic idyll, a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is a narrative divided into nine scenes." (1) An armed hero, mounted in a car driven by a charioteer, quits in the morning a castle or fortified town. He is going to hunt, and carries his bow in his left hand. Over his head is an umbrella, the badge of his high rank, and his defence against the mid-day sun. A quiver hangs at the side of his chariot. He wears a conical cap, while the driver has his head bare, and leans forwards over the front of the car, seeming to shake the reins, and encourage the horses to mend their pace. (2) After the car has proceeded a certain distance, the hunter espies a stag upon a rocky hill. He stops his chariot, gets down, and leaving the driver in charge of the vehicle, ensconces himself behind a tree, and thus screened lets fly an arrow against the quarry, which strikes it midway in the chest. (3) Weak and bleeding copiously, the stag attempts to escape; but the hunter pursues and takes possession of him without having to shoot a second time. (4) The hour is come now for a rest. The sportsman has reached a wood, in which date-bearing palms are intermingled with trees of a different kind. He fastens his game to one of them, and proceeds to the skinning and the disembowelling. Meanwhile, his attendant detaches the horses from the car, relieves them of their harness, and proceeds to feed them from a portable manger. The car, left to itself, is tilted back, and stands with its pole in the air. (5) Food and drink having been prepared and placed on two tables, or altars, the hunter, seated on a throne under the shadow of his umbrella, pours a libation to the gods. They, on their part, scent the feast and draw near, represented by the sun and moon—a winged disk, and a crescent embracing a full orb. The feast is also witnessed by a spirit of evil, in the shape of a huge baboon or cynocephalous ape, who from a cavern at the foot of a wooded mountain, whereon a stag and a hare are feeding, furtively surveys the ceremony. (6) Remounting his chariot the hunter sets out on his return home, when the baboon quits his concealment, and rushes after him, threatening him with a huge stone. Hereupon a winged deity descends from heaven, and lifting into the air chariot, horses, charioteer, and hunter, enfolds them in an embrace and saves them. (7) The ape, baffled, pursues his way; the chariot is replaced on the earth. The hunter prepares his bow, places an arrow on the string, and hastily pursues his enemy, who is speedily overtaken and thrown to the ground by the horses. (8) The hunter dismounts, puts his foot upon the prostrate ape, and gives him the coup de grace with a heavy axe or mace. A bird of prey hovers near, ready to descend upon the carcase. (9) The hero remounts his chariot, and returns to the castle or city which he left in the morning.

We have now to return to the medallion which forms the centre of the cup. Within a circle of pearls or beads, similar to that separating the two zones, is a round space about two inches in diameter, divided into two compartments by a horizontal line. In the upper part are contained three human figures, and the figure of a dog. At the extreme left is a prisoner with a beard and long hair that falls upon his shoulders. His entire body is naked. Behind him his two arms are brought together, tied by a cord, and then firmly attached to a post. His knees are bent, but do not reach the ground, and his feet are placed with their soles uppermost against the post at its base. The attitude is one which implies extreme suffering. In front of the prisoner, occupying the centre of the medallion, is the main figure of the upper compartment, a warrior, armed with a spear, who pursues the third figure, a fugitive, and seems to be thrusting his spear into the man's back. Both have long hair, but are beardless; and wear the shenti for their sole garment. Between the legs of the main figure is a dog of the jackal kind, which has his teeth fixed in the heels of the fugitive, and arrests his flight. Below, in the second compartment, are two figures only, a man and a dog. The man is prostrate, and seems to be crawling along the ground, the dog stands partly on him, and appears to be biting his left heel. The interpretation which M. Clermont-Ganneau gives to this entire scene lacks the probability which attaches to his explanation of the outer scene. He suggests that the prisoner is the hunter of the other scene, plundered and bound by his charioteer, who is hastening away, when he is seized by his master's dog and arrested in his flight. The dog gnaws off his right foot and then attacks the left, while the fugitive, in order to escape his tormentor, has to crawl along the ground. But M. Clermont-Ganneau himself distrusts his interpretation, while he has convinced no other scholar of its soundness. Judicious critics will be content to wait the further researches which he promises, whereby additional light may perhaps be thrown on this obscure matter.

In its artistic character the "cup of Praeneste" claims a high place among the works of art probably or certainly assignable to the Phoenicians. The relief is high; the forms, especially the animal ones, are spirited and well-proportioned. The horses are especially good. As M. Clermont-Ganneau says, "their forms and their movements are indicated with a great deal of precision and truth." They show also a fair amount of variety; they stand, they walk, they trot, they gallop at full speed, always truthfully and naturally. The stag, the hare, and the dog are likewise well portrayed; the ape has less merit; he is too human, too like a mere unkempt savage. The human forms are about upon a par with those of the Assyrians and Egyptians, which have evidently served for their models, the Assyrian for the outer zone, the Egyptian for the medallion. The encircling snake, as already observed, is a masterpiece. There is no better drawing in any of the other paterae. At best they equal, they certainly do not surpass, the Praenestine specimen.

The intaglios of the Phoenicians are either on cylinders or on gems, and can rarely be distinguished, unless they are accompanied by an inscription, from the similar objects obtained in such abundance from Babylonia and Assyria. They reproduce, with scarcely any variation, the mythological figures and emblems native to those countries—the forms of gods and priests, of spirits of good and evil, of kings contending with lions, of sacred trees, winged circles, and the like—scarcely ever introducing any novelty. The greater number of the cylinders are very rudely cut. They have been worked simply by means of a splinter of obsidian, and are barbarous in execution, though interesting to the student of archaic art. The subjoined are specimens. No. 1 represents a four-winged genius of the Assyrian type, bearded, and clad in a short tunic and a long robe, seizing with either hand a winged griffin, or spirit of evil, and reducing them to subjection. In the field, towards the two upper corners, are the same four Phoenician characters, twice repeated; they designate, no doubt, the owner of the cylinder, which he probably used as a seal, and are read as Harkhu. No. 2, which is better cut than No. 1, represents a king of the Persian (Achaemenian) type, who stands between two rampant lions, and seizes each by the forelock. Behind the second lion is a sacred tree of a type that is not uncommon; and behind the tree is an inscription, which has been read as l'Baletan—i.e. "(the seal) of Baletan." This cylinder was found recently in the Lebanon. Nos. 3 and 4 come from Salamis in Cyprus, where they were found by M. Alexandre Di Cesnola, the brother of the General. No. 3 represents a robed figure holding two nondescript animals by the hind legs; the creatures writhe in his grasp, and turn their heads towards him, as though wishing to bite. The remainder of the field is filed with detached objects, scattered at random—two human forms, a griffin, two heads of oxen, a bird, two balls, three crosses, a sceptre, etc. The forms are, all of them, very rudely traced. No. 4 resembles in general character No. 3, but is even ruder. Three similar robed figures hold each other's hands and perhaps execute a dance around some religious object. Two heads of oxen or cows, with a disk between their horns, occupy the spaces intervening between the upper parts of the figures. In the lower portion of the field, the sun and moon fill the middle space, the sun, moon, and five planets the spaces to the right and to the left. Another cylinder from the same place (No. 5)is tolerably well designed and engraved. It shows us two persons, a man and a woman, in the act of presenting a dove to a female, who is probably the goddess Astarté, and who willingly receives it at their hands. Behind Astarté a seated lion echoes the approval of the goddess by raising one of his fore paws, while a griffin, who wholly disapproves of the offering, turns his back in disgust.

On another cylinder, which is certainly Phoenician, a rude representation of a sacred tree occupies the central position. To the left stands a worshipper with the right hand upraised, clad in a very common Assyrian dress. Over the sacred tree is a coarse specimen of the winged circle or disk, with head and tail, and fluttering ends of ribbon. On either side stand two winged genii, dressed in long robes, and tall stiff caps, such as are often seen on the heads of Persians in the Persepolitan sculptures, and on the darics. In the field is a Phoenician inscription, which is read as {...} or Irphael ben Hor'adad, "Irphael, the son of Horadad."

Phoenician cylinders are in glass, green serpentine, cornaline, black haematite, steatite, and green jasper. They are scratched rather than deeply cut, and cannot be said ever to attain to any considerable artistic beauty. Those which have been here given are among the best; and they certainly fall short, both in design and workmanship, of many Assyrian, Babylonian, and even Persian specimens.

The gems, on the other hand, are in many cases quite equal to the Assyrian. There is one of special merit, which has been pronounced "an exquisite specimen of Phoenician lapidary art," figured by General Di Cesnola in his "Cyprus." Two men in regular Assyrian costume, standing on either side of a "Sacred Tree," grasp, each of them, a branch of it. Above is a winged circle, with the wings curved so as to suit the shape of the gem. Below is an ornament, which is six times repeated, like the blossom of a flower; and below this is a trelliswork. The whole is cut deeply and sharply. Its Phoenician authorship is assured by its being an almost exact repetition of a group upon the silver patera found at Amathus.

Of other gems equally well engraved the following are specimens. No. 1 is a scarab of cornaline found by M. de Vogué in Phoenicia Proper.Two male figures in Assyrian costume face each other, their advanced feet crossing. Both hold in one hand the ankh or symbol of life. One has in the left hand what is thought to be a lotus blossom. The other has the right hand raised in the usual attitude of adoration. Between the figures, wherever there was space for them, are Phoenician characters, which are read as {...}, or l'Beka—i.e. "(the seal) of Beka." No. 2, which has been set in a ring, is one of the many scarabs brought by General Di Cesnola from Cyprus. It contains the figure of a hind, suckling her fawn, and is very delicately carved. The hind, however, is in an impossible attitude, the forelegs being thrown forwards, probably in order to prevent them from interfering with the figure of the fawn. Above the hind is an inscription, which appears to be in the Cyprian character, and which gives (probably) the name of the owner. No. 3 introduces us to domestic life. A grand lady, of Tyre perhaps or Sidon, by name Akhot-melek, seated upon an elegant throne, with her feet upon a footstool, and dressed in a long robe which envelops the whole of her figure, receives at the hands of a female attendant a bowl or wine-cup, which the latter has just filled from an oenochoe of elegant shape, still held in her left hand. The attendant wears a striped robe reaching to the feet, and over it a tunic fastened round the waist with a belt. Her hair flows down on her shoulders, while that of her mistress is confined by a band, from which depends an ample veil, enveloping the cheeks, the back of the head, and the chin. We are told that such veils are still worn in the Phoenician country. An inscription, in a late form of the Phoenician character, surrounds the two figures, and is read as {...} or l'Akhot-melek ishat Joshua(?)—i.e. "(the seal) of Akhot-melek, wife of Joshua." No. 4 contains the figure of a lion, cut with much spirit. MM. Perrot et Chipiez say of it—"Among the numerous representations of lions that have been discovered in Phoenicia, there is none which can be placed on a par with that on the scarab bearing the name of 'Ashenel: small as it is, this lion has something of the physiognomy of those magnificent ones which we have borrowed from the bas-reliefs of the Assyrians. Still, the intaglio is in other respects decidedly Phoenician and not Assyrian. Observe, for instance, the beetle with the wings expanded, which fills up the lower part of the field; this is a motive borrowed from Egypt, which a Ninevite lapidary would certainly not have put in such a place." The Phoenician inscription takes away all doubt as to the nationality. It reads as {...}, or 'Ashenel, and no doubt designates the owner. No. 5 is beautifully engraved on a chalcedony. It represents a stag attacked by a griffin, which has jumped suddenly on its back. The drawing is excellent, both of the real and of the imaginary animal, and leaves nothing to be desired. The inscription, which occupies the upper part of the field to the right, is in Cyprian characters, and shows that the gem was the signet of a certain Akestodaros.

There are some Phoenician gems which are interesting from their subject matter without being especially good as works of art. One of these contains a representation of two men fighting. Both are armed with two spears, and both carry round shields or bucklers. The warrior to the right wears a conical helmet, and is thought to be a native Cyprian; he carries a shield without an umbo or boss. His adversary on the left wears a loose cap, or hood, the {pilos apages} of Herodotus, and has a prominent umbo in the middle of his shield. He probably represents a Persian, and appears to have received a wound from his antagonist, which is causing him to sink to the ground. This gem was found at Curium in Cyprus by General Di Cesnola.

Another, found at the same place, exhibits a warrior, or a hunter, going forth to battle or to the chase in his chariot. A large quiver full of arrows is slung at each side of his car. The warrior and his horse (one only is seen) are rudely drawn, but the chariot is very distinctly made out, and has a wheel of an Assyrian type. The Salaminians of Cyprus were famous for their war chariots, of which this may be a representation.

The island of Sardinia has furnished a prodigious number of Phoenician seals. A single private collection contains as many as six hundred. They are mostly scarabs, and the type of them is mostly Egyptian. Sometimes they bear the forms of Egyptian gods, as Horus, or Thoth, or Anubis; sometimes cartouches with the names of kings as Menkara, Thothmes III., Amenophis III., Seti I., etc.; sometimes mere sacred emblems, as the winged uraeus, the disk between two uraei, and the like. Occasionally there is the representation of a scene with which the Egyptian bas-reliefs have made us familiar:a warrior has caught hold of his vanquished and kneeling enemy by a lock of his hair, and threatens him with an axe or mace, which he brandishes above his head. Or a lion takes the place of the captive man, and is menaced in the same way. Human figures struggling with lions, and lions killing wild bulls, are also common; but the type in these cases is less Egyptian than Oriental.

Phoenician painting was not, like Egyptian, displayed upon the walls of temples, nor was it, like Greek, the production of actual pictures for the decoration of houses. It was employed to a certain extent on statues, not so as to cover the entire figure, but with delicacy and discretion, for the marking out of certain details, and the emphasising of certain parts of the design. The hair and beard were often painted a brownish red; the pupil of the eye was marked by means of colour; and robes had often a border of red or blue. Statuettes were tinted more generally, whole vestments being sometimes coloured red or green, and a gay effect being produced, which is said to be agreeable and harmonious. But the nearest approach to painting proper which was made by the Phoenicians was upon their vessels in clay, in terra-cotta, and in alabaster. Here, though, the ornamentation was sometimes merely by patterns or bands, there were occasionally real attempts to depict animal and human forms, which, if not very successful, still possess considerable interest. The noble amphora from Curium, figured by Di Cesnola, contains above forty representations of horses, and nearly as many of birds. The shape of the horse is exceedingly conventional, the whole form being attenuated in the highest degree; but the animal is drawn with spirit, and the departure from nature is clearly intentional. In the animals that are pasturing, the general attitude is well seized; the movement is exactly that of the horse when he stretches his neck to reach and crop the grass. In the birds there is equal spirit and greater truth to nature: they are in various attitudes, preening their feathers, pecking the ground, standing with head erect in the usual way. Other vases contain figures of cows, goats, stags, fish and birds of various kinds, while one has an attempt at a hippopotamus. The attempts to represent the human form are certainly not happy; they remind us of the more ambitious efforts of Chinese and Japanese art.