Ceramics in Paris

I was wrong, there are ceramics in Paris. Problem is it is all in museums. The historical pieces in the Louvre are among the finest to be found anywhere – it’s just the contemporary that is exceedingly thin on the ground.

Here are some images of a few of the pieces I photographed at the Louvre.  There are some fine design principals apparent in this very early work, particularly the vessels, and also in the sculptural works, some (now) fresh concepts not mined for a long time. There are already ceramists here and elsewhere addressing some of these. But there is more to delve into, just in these few historical images. We  have long and rich histories that offer untapped potential for contemporary expression.

Until further notice the following are from Mesopotamia – usually known as the source of western civilisation and situated between (roughtly) the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates and below the Caspian Sea and above the Persian Gulf (currently present day  Iraq and around…)

                                          Votive female figures 1400-1230 BC Terra Cotta

Couldn’t help wondering about the function of this (above) work since the ancient makers did not, as far as we know, make decorative…. everything had a purpose… maybe  to help achieve a successful voyage but the sailors seem  happy souls… and are those children on board?

Vessels with the decoration focussed at the fullest part of the form... and well placed handles that are pegged to form features placed there so the handle can be attached at that point.

A coffee (?) mug...

A water container...Betty Woodman was here

Snail mail of the most extreme kind from ancient Egypt 1400C BC

The next two images are from the Etruscan civilisation…now Tuscany, north of Rome, Italy. It was a civilisation that placed huge emphasis on on funerary rites and the goods that accompanied the body into the afterlife.

Ossuary (bone container)

Head of a woman (life-size...the Etruscan is usually identified by the wavy hair that almost always is on the human effigies.

Greek – two sphinx about 500-550 BC, terra-cotta.

Greek - sphinx about 500-550 BC, terra-cotta.

Greek - sphinx about 500-550 BC, terra-cotta.

A rare piece where the polychrome surface is not worn away …which is why we often think of them as being  just white…

A rare piece where the polychrome surface is not worn away ...which is why we often think of them as being just white...

I could not make out what medium was the inlay of eye-brows and surrounds – ? enamel, ?solid glaze   ?    if anyone knows be interested… but what a fabulous face…

...but what a fabulous face

Finally, two pieces from Africa, Nigeria 12-15thC

Later I shall post images of contemporary ceramics spied at the Venice Biennale.

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