Category Archives: Virtual Vault

Object highlights from archaeological collections at Brown University.

Virtual Exhibit: The Stories Objects Tell

The Stories Objects Tell

March 14, 2022-April 14, 2022

The Stories Objects Tell was an exhibit curated by Kristen Marchetti, with assistance from Erynn Bentley, for Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. Works included in the show were a response to archaeology in general or to objects in the Institute’s Collection.

The map below displays the location of the works featured in the Joukowsky Institute during the exhibition of The Stories Objects Tell from March 14, 2022 to April 14, 2022. View the exhibit virtually in this article by looking at photos of the works, listed in order of their appearance on the map.

To read the artists’ statements about their work, view the exhibit catalog.

A Slumber Did My Spirit Steal by Yuan Jiang (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
string of beads by Hannah Bashkow (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Pine by Jacqueline Qiu (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Landscape by Joshua Koolik (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Archival residues by Chloe Gardner (undergraduate student, Brown University)

Cave di Cusa at Dusk by Arden Shostak (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)

Three Votive Vessels by Arden Shostak (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Straw Flowers by Jacqueline Qiu (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Iconography in Sculpture & Advertising by Daniel Cody (undergraduate student, Brown University)

Tesserae by Laura Romig (undergraduate student, Brown University)

Untitled by Laurel Bestock (faculty, Brown University)
In the Garden by Jacqueline Qiu (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Medusa’s Story by Anne Wang (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Patterns Reimagined by Emily Atanasoff (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Antikythera Shipwreck by Joe McKendry (faculty, Rhode Island School of Design)
Untitled by Sofia Berger (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Untitled by Sofia Berger (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)

Untitled by Sofia Berger (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)

Mapping the Hellenistic by John Lin (undergraduate student, Brown University)
For Cavafy by Itzhak Fant (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Sculpture Otherwise by Katia Rozenberg (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Set of Instruments by Peter Yeadon (faculty, Rhode Island School of Design)
Vessel by Peter Yeadon (faculty, Rhode Island School of Design)
Postwar Sandbox PTSD Therapy by Julius Cavira (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
naturally by Jiayin Lu (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Death of the American Mall by Laurel Bestock (faculty, Brown University)
Olympians by Itzhak Fant (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Pudica by Cicek Beeby (faculty, Brown University)
A Collection: Magic Futures, Broken Pasts; Broken Futures, Magic Pasts by Jon Lausten (staff, Brown University)
A Collection: Magic Futures, Broken Pasts; Broken Futures, Magic Pasts by Jon Lausten (staff, Brown University)
Encountering Art Together by Rachel Lee (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Imagination by Anne Wang (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Ostia by Tomas Manto (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Smoke Break by David Pinto (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Peace Relic #86 by Mason Hunt (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Figurine #1 by Florian Okwu (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
The humanity questions by Yichu Wang (undergraduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Fossils by Quinn Erickson (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Rake by Catharina Dobal (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Untitled (Greebled Urn) by Scott Lerner (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Untitled (Greebled Cup) by Scott Lerner (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Untitled (Greebled Candlestick) by Scott Lerner (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Διόνυσος by Giuseppe Presti (undergraduate student, Brown University)
6:30 by Danyang Song (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
nest by Nickolas Roblee-Strauss (undergraduate student, Brown University)
Polychromatic Ahistory by Jack Tufts (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)
Polychromatic Ahistory by Jack Tufts (graduate student, Rhode Island School of Design)

Exhibit Opening: The Stories Objects Tell

On March 14th, 2022, the Joukowsky Institute hosted an exhibit opening for The Stories Objects Tell. We invited the artists who submitted work to the show as well as all members of the Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design communities. The event began at 4 PM, and it was a pleasure to see many show participants, visitors, and people affiliated with the Joukowsky Institute in attendance.

Peter van Dommelen, Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, began the event by welcoming attendants and introducing the exhibit. After Peter gave an opening speech, I spoke about my inspiration for the show and my gratitude to the artists. We then transitioned to allow the guests to tour Rhode Island Hall and view the artworks installed throughout the building. Visitors wandered through the first, second, and third floors of the Institute, following an exhibit map to locate artwork in the show. 

During the remainder of the opening, artists and visitors chatted about the work and ventured throughout the Institute to view the exhibit. Several of the artists discussed the meaning and inspiration of their artwork in greater detail, and it was very exciting to learn all of the ways that the study of archaeology shaped and kindled their visions. 

Peter later told me that the exhibit opening was the first large, in-person event at the Joukowsky Institute since the beginning of the pandemic. It was very exciting to hear this and to see so many members of the Brown and RISD communities together in one space. As a senior at Brown, it has been sad to see the ongoing pandemic limit opportunities for community and connection on campus over the past few years. Despite the many months of isolation that COVID engendered, I am thrilled to have spent my last few months at Brown engaging with peers, professors, and staff in a celebration of art and community.

The atrium
The Common Room
Pudica by Cicek Beeby, Death of the American Shopping Mall by Laurel Bestock, and A Collection: Magic Futures, Broken Pasts; Broken Futures, Magic Pasts by Jon Lausten
Postwar Sandbox PTSD Therapy by Julius Cavira
Sculpture Otherwise by Katia Rozenberg

Open Collection Hours

Leading up to the exhibit, The Stories Objects Tell, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology hosted Open Collection Hours on Thursdays and Fridays in February and early March, allowing visitors from Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design to view the Institute’s Collection in person. Although the Collection is accessible online, Open Collection Hours allowed visitors to view and handle ancient objects in person. 

The main impetus behind hosting the Hours was to allow those interested in submitting to The Stories Objects Tell to see the ancient artifacts at the building. The exhibit called for work inspired by archaeology and objects in the Collection, so we offered in-person visits as a source of inspiration to the artists. However, anyone was welcome to visit, and we enjoyed meeting with numerous faculty, staff, students, and members of the public.

The Collection of objects at the Joukowsky Institute includes a remarkable range of ancient ceramic vessels, lamps, figurines, lithics, sherds, and more. Although it is a teaching collection used for archaeological research and Brown University courses, the majority of the Collection is not on display but is stored in a locked vault in the basement of the Institute for security and collections care purposes. Part of my goal in organizing The Stories Objects Tell was to increase awareness on campus about the Collection and opportunities for the community to take courses, conduct research, attend events, and otherwise learn about the ancient world at the Joukowsky Institute. In initiating and hosting Open Collection Hours, it was our hope that students and other members of the Brown community could draw, sculpt, write, discuss, research, and discover these special objects created so many centuries ago. 

During the Hours, I gave tours of the vault with Erynn Bentley, a PhD student in Archaeology and the Ancient World. It was very exciting to meet a number of visitors from Brown and RISD and learn about their various connections to art and archaeology. Some were interested in submitting work to the exhibit, and others were simply curious to see the remarkable Collection of ancient artifacts right here on College Hill. All of the visitors wished to know the stories behind the objects, including their original purposes, places of creation, and journeys to Providence, Rhode Island. 

I met with two sculptors while hosting tours, one of whom worked at List Art Center and another who taught as a professor at Rhode Island School of Design. It was amazing to meet established artists who were inspired by the interesting shapes, textures, and materials of the objects in the Collection. Two other visitors did not study art but were excited to see a new space on campus after reading about the hours in [email protected] One student who made jewelry was especially excited to see the necklaces in the vault, and she ended up submitting a handmade necklace to The Stories Objects Tell

Erynn shared that the visitors with whom she met were very curious about her research at the Institute. Interestingly, she noted that many learned about the Open Collection Hours by word of mouth from those who had viewed the Collection already. Erynn also described the benefits of allowing visitors to “make their own connections with the knowledge they have.” One visitor spoke Arabic and could translate some of the calligraphy on objects from the Minassian collection, and others discussed their experiences visiting Egypt, Israel, and other locations where the objects in the Collection originated.

The Open Collection Hours were a highlight of my time at the Joukowsky Institute, and it was a privilege to explore the Collection with my peers and other community members.

The Stories Objects Tell

During the spring of 2022, I curated an exhibit for the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World called, The Stories Objects Tell. The exhibit was on display at the Institute from March 14th to April 15th and featured literary and visual work from students, faculty, and staff at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. 

I came up with the theme for the show last fall, two months after I began working at the Institute as Records and Collections Assistant. In this role, I help to organize, inventory, and research the Institute’s robust collection of ancient objects. One of my favorite responsibilities is to write for the Virtual Vault blog. I have learned about so many objects in the Collection, including sherds, ceramics, jewelry, and coins from the ancient Mediterranean, Egypt, and Near East. I am just as intrigued by the information that I have found about artifacts as the mysteries that remain. I often wonder if archaeologists will ever be able to determine the answers to some questions, such as: Who made the objects? Did they hold personal meaning? How were they passed down?

Excited by the questions that the study of archaeology generates, I decided to plan an exhibit that showcased the visible and invisible stories that objects tell. I released a call for artwork submissions that responded to archaeology in general or to one of the objects in the Institute’s Collection. Looking for artists from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, I invited faculty, staff, and students from the Brown and RISD communities to submit. 

The response to the call for submissions was almost overwhelming. From all of the compelling pieces submitted, I selected 42 works from 34 artists. The literary and visual artwork submitted to the show revealed historical, cultural, social, and personal stories, responding to archaeology in a myriad of visual and literary forms. The artists volunteered works in a range of media, including oil paintings, pencil drawings, digital artwork, photographs, modeling clay, sand, and even wine. The major themes that emerged from the artists’ statements were personal memory, the legacy of history, and the value of art in connecting people across time and place. 

I curated this show with the assistance of Erynn Bentley, a PhD student in Archaeology and the Ancient World focusing on late antiquity and the early medieval period in the Mediterranean region and Europe. We installed works on the first, second, and third floors of Rhode Island Hall, welcoming viewers to consider the following questions: Who determines the stories objects tell? Can objects speak for themselves? Do our personal experiences impact how we view objects? And finally, how do the stories we tell evolve over time?

In the atrium of the Institute, Erynn and I installed works that were directly based on objects in the Collection as well as pieces that more broadly considered connections with the past. Arden Shostak’s Three Votive Vessels was inspired by Roman votive vessels, for example, while Jon Laustsen considered wind turbines and ancient sculpting techniques in A Collection: Magic Futures, Broken Pasts; Broken Futures, Magic Pasts. Julius Cavira’s Postwar Sandbox PTSD Therapy reflected on trauma and vulnerability and was easily the largest work in the show, consisting of a folding chair partially buried in sand. 

The first-floor Common Room featured work that expressed individuality and identity. Both Cicek Beeby’s Pudica and Laurel Bestock’s Death of the American Mall depicted representations of women in society, from antique sculpture to modern mannequins. Smoke Break by David Pinto connected the past and present by framing a contemporary camel rider smoking a cigarette in front of an ancient treasury in Petra. Meanwhile, Ostia by Tomas Manto brought us closer to those who came before us by imagining the interpersonal relationships between ancient peoples.

On the second floor of the building, Erynn and I placed small, three-dimensional objects near or inside of display cases with ancient artifacts. Juxtaposing contemporary work with art that is thousands of years old allowed us to question relationships between past and present. In one case with depictions of ancient Greece figures, for example, we placed Florian Okwu’s abstracted wooden figure, Figurine #1

The third floor was the last stop in the show, containing three-dimensional works that prompted deep reflection or required viewer interaction. Nickolas Roblee-Strauss’ nest imitated traditional Korean “scholar stones,” organic rock forms that were displayed as objects of study in homes. The most hands-on piece in the exhibit was Jack Tuft’s Polychromatic Ahistory, a set of objects made by 3D printing the scans of historic sculptures. Viewers could handle the sculptures in Polychromatic Ahistory and read about the work in accompanying books.

In the hopes that the show will live on in digital format, we have produced several online exhibit features. Sarah Sharpe, Assistant Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, designed an exhibit catalog accessible online with an exhibit map and information about featured works. I am currently creating a Virtual Exhibit page that will be posted online by the end of May 2022. The experience of curating The Stories Objects Tell was an incredible chance to see how ancient objects continue to inspire and connect us in learning and wonder today.

Bronze processional standard

Object: M299
JIAAW, Minassian Collection

How was a processional standard like this one originally used? This curvilinear, bronze object is a seventeenth century processional standard (‘alam) that was found in Iran. When the standard was made in the seventeenth century, the powerful Safavid dynasty (1501 to 1736 CE) controlled Iran and surrounding territories in the Middle East. The Safavids were generous patrons of art and architecture, cultivating and supporting the production of masterful book arts, painting, textiles, and buildings. 

The Safavids embraced Twelver Shiism, a major form of Shi’a Islam. Unlike the Ottomans to the west and the Mughals to the east, who practiced Sunni Islam, the Safavids subscribed to the belief that the leader of the Islamic world should be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Shi’a religion greatly influenced the arts during the Safavid period, including the function and decoration of the bronze processional standard in the Joukowsky Institute collection. Followers of Shi’a would have used a standard like this one in processions, particularly during ‘Ashura, the tenth day of the month of Muharram. On this day, the Shi’a community remembers the martyrdom of Imam Husain, the grandson of Muhammad, in 680 CE.

The bronze standard in the Joukowsky Institute’s collection is shaped like a teardrop, with a triangular finial on top. In the center of the teardrop form and upper finial are Arabic descriptions of important Shi’a figures, such as Allah, Muhammad, and Ali. Religious proclamations also line the edges of the standard, revealing the religious function of the standard. A curved finial extends below the bottom half of object, though one half of the structure had fallen off before the object arrived at the Joukowsky. Processional standards like this one were often attached to poles and carried during ceremonies, as the round protrusion at the bottom of the standard suggests.

There are several other standards that can be viewed online. In 2014, Christie’s auctioned a remarkably similar object with a teardrop form, calligraphic inscriptions in Arabic, and a curvilinear border. The Christie’s standard dates to the sixteenth to seventeenth century, and its placement on a platform and pole suggest its original use in processions.

A Safavid pierced bronze processional Standard (‘alam), bronze, 16th/17th century, Iran (Christie’s)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art also holds a similar object in its collection, along with the Aga Khan Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The ‘alam from the latter’s collection is from the Mughal Empire, and it was placed on top of a pole with cloth in Deccani Shiite processions.

Standard (‘Alam), copper alloy and solder, 18th century, Deccan, India (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts).

Today, Muslim communities around the world continue to participate in ceremonies to mourn Imam Hussein during the sacred month of Muharram. In the ritual of Nakhl Gardani in Yazd, Iran, Muslims gather together in a large crowd and carry a large wooden structure called the Nakhl that is covered with shawls, fabrics, mirrors, and lanterns (Tehran Times 2020). The bronze processional standard at the Joukowsky Institute memorializes the art and architecture of the Safavid Dynasty while taking part in a long tradition of Shi’a ceremonial rituals.

-Kristen Marchetti ‘22

Read more about the Safavid Dynasty, processional standards, and Muharram at the links below (my sources of information, in addition to pages linked in text):

A monumental Safavid brass and bronze processional standard

This ‘alam (processional standard) rise from a tubular brass shaft with floral lattice through a slightly tapering spherical element with inscribed medallions. A pierced cube above is engraved with the invocation of Muhammad; this is cut out over floral scrolls on each side. There are numerous depiction of stylised dragons’ heads fixed along the edges.

Muharram mourning: A glimpse of indigenous rituals across Iran

TEHRAN – Every year, people in different parts of Iran hold rituals to commemorate Muharram mourning season gloriously in public. The commemoration of the battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura (10th day of Muharram) and the epic passion and courage of Imam Hussein (AS) and his 72 loyal companions who were all martyred (in 680 CE) is annually honored by Iranians.

Pottery Roundels

M290a Unglazed pottery roundel with a geometric leaf design
M290bc  Positive and negative plaster imprints of M290a
M276 Unglazed molded pottery roundel with a symmetrical design of a spiral center that
dips down and leads to hole in very center
M287a Pottery roundel featuring a bird looking to the side
M287bc Negative and positive plaster imprints of M287a
M229 Thick, unglazed molded pottery roundel with a geometric designs on both the front and back
M270 Large, unglazed, molded terracotta colored pottery roundel with an image of a bull’s head

Objects: M290abc, M276, M287abc, M229, and M270
JIAAW, Minassian Collection

This Virtual Vault post focuses on a subset of objects in the Joukowsky Institute’s collection whose origins have been the subject of debate amongst Joukowsky community members for some time. They are the pottery roundels that were given to the JIAAW as part of the Minassian Collection, consisting of round pieces of clay with designs etched onto their surfaces, as well as both negative and positive plaster impressions of the clay roundels. The roundels depict a wide range of designs and symbolic subjects, including animals, plants, and geometric shapes. While the Institute’s records attribute these roundels to 13th century Iran, similar objects have been found in many other ancient sites, with some having been used for entirely different purposes from one another. 

Some of the earliest examples of clay molds come from Central Mexico during the Early Formative period (ca. 1800-1200 BCE), where they were used as decorative devices for embellishing clothing, ceramics, and even the person. Typically depicting abstract geometric designs and animal imagery, often in repeating patterns, these clay stamps have been found in ancient burial sites, indicating the meaningful cultural association attached to these objects. The practice of creating and using these clay stamps continued through to the early sixteenth century CE, as exemplified by the Aztec people’s wide use of stamps to apply ink to figurines, clothing, paper, and the body.

Aside from decoration, stamps in antiquity also served practical purposes. Lumps of clay pressed with seal markings, or bullae, originate from the Seleucid period in Iran (306 – c.150 BCE). Bullae were used to shut jars, doors, and baskets, and were designed to prevent tampering with the contents inside.

Cylinder seals could be used to impress intricate designs onto bullae, or were covered with ink and rolled directly onto important documents.

Meanwhile, the ancient Romans used stamps for similar purposes of identification and proof of ownership, but instead of marking papers they marked bread. Since most bread was baked in communal ovens, Roman bakers placed custom bronze stamps on top of their dough so that they could differentiate finished loaves from one another.

Yet, the use of stamp-like objects in antiquity did not stop with bullae or bread making. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is home to a group of ceramic roundels similar to the ones here at the Joukowsky Institute that also once belonged to Kirkor Minassian. According to the Met, these roundels are actually bath scrapers, used in steamy bath houses called hammams to scrub away dead skin and eliminate impurities. Like the clay roundels in the Joukowsky Vault, these scrapers have been attributed to 12th-13th century Iran. While simpler designs could have served the same function of exfoliating the skin, perhaps the intricate illustrations of these bath scrapers says something about the personality of both the artisans who made them and the ancient people who bought and used them. 

The exploration of these once mysterious pottery roundels reflects the natural place that curiosity and imagination have in archaeology. When placed next to one another, each of the objects mentioned in this post share key characteristics that can make them seem very similar to one another. Yet, a deeper look within each object’s cultural context demonstrates the many uses and purposes of stamp-like objects in antiquity despite their apparent similarities.

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21

Read more about ancient stamps and seals:

From the collections: A bread-stamp (Ian Randall)

Cylinder seal | Babylonian | Old Babylonian | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 117 (Jul. 1,1986 – Jun. 30, 1987), p. 16. Pittman, Holly, in collaboration with Joan Aruz. 1987. Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no.

Sealing with stamp seal impressions: radiating griffins; banquet scene | Old Assyrian Trading Colony | Middle Bronze Age-Old Assyrian Trading Colony | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Özgüç, Nimet. 1983. “Sealings from Acemhöyük in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.” In Beiträge zur Altertumskunde Kleinasiens: Festschrift für Kurt Bittel, edited by R.M. Boehmer and H. Hauptmann, vol. 1. Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern, no. 1, p. 414, figs. 1a-b, pls. 83, 1a-1b.

Stamp, Birds | Aztec | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

History of Iran: Seleucid Empire

History of Iran Seleucid Empire (306 – c.150 BCE) By: Jens Jakobsson, 2004 The Hellenistic period is one of the most controversial in the history of Iran. The Greek or Macedonian dynasties were never fully accepted as more than occupants, and in hindsight their reign has been neglected.

Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica

BULLAE, the sealings, usually of clay or bitumen, on which were impressed the marks of seals showing ownership or witness to whatever was attached to the sealing. Bullae or clay sealings were used in ancient Mesopotamia, but strictly speaking bullae came into general use after the end of cuneiform writing.

Ancient Romans Branded Their Bread to Punish Fraudulent Bakers

Among the ruins of Pompeii-ancient coins, jewelry, frescoes-a loaf of bread was found. Perfectly preserved by a layer of volcanic ash, the 2,000-year-old loaf was mysteriously etched with an inscription: celer, slave of quintus granius verus. “The ancient Romans made bronze bread stamps, which were used to identify the baker,” says Nathan Myhrvold, scientist and author of Modernist Cuisine .

Bath Scraper | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/doliche-clay-seals-05574.html

See other examples of stamps and bath scrapers:

Stamp seal: hunters and goats, rectangular pen (?) | Dilmun | Middle Bronze Age | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 117 (Jul. 1,1986 – Jun. 30, 1987), p. 16. Pittman, Holly, in collaboration with Joan Aruz. 1987. Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no.

Bath Scraper | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

Bath Scraper | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

Stamp seal | Iran | Iron Age I | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Frye, Richard N., ed. 1973. Sasanian Remains from Qasr-i Abu Nasr: Seals, Sealings, and Coins. Harvard Iranian Series I. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, no. 27, p. 40. Whitcomb, Donald S. 1985. Before the Roses and Nightingales: Excavations at Qasr-i Abu Nasr, Old Shiraz, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p.

Sealing with inscribed stamp seal impressions | Sasanian | Sasanian | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Frye, Richard N., ed. 1973. Sasanian Remains from Qasr-i Abu Nasr: Seals, Sealings, and Coins. Harvard Iranian Series, I. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, p. 88. Gignoux, Philippe. 1985. “Les Bulles Sasanides de Qasr-i Abu Nasr (Collection du Metropolitan Museum of Art).” Papers in honour of Professor Mary Boyce, Acta Iranica 24, Deuxième Série, Vol.

Bulla with stamp seal impression

Bulla with stamp seal impression Near Eastern, Iranian, Persian Dimensions Height x diameter: 2.5 x 2.8 cm (1 x 1 1/8 in.) Credit Line Morris and Louise Rosenthal Fund Description Clay bulla with impression of a stamp seal depicting the Persian king spearing a Greek hoplite.

Stamp seal | Sasanian | Sasanian | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Frye, Richard N., ed. 1973. Sasanian Remains from Qasr-i Abu Nasr: Seals, Sealings, and Coins. Harvard Iranian Series I. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, no. 14, p. 39, pl. IV. Brunner, Christopher J. 1978. Sasanian Stamp Seals in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no.

Bath Scraper | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

Damascus Tile

Object: M167
JIAAW, Minassian Collection

Decorated with a symmetrical design of blue and green hues, object M167 from the Joukowsky Institute’s Minassian Collection is a rich example of Damascus ware. Damascus tiles were derived from the tradition of Iznik ceramics, a school of Turkish pottery that flourished between the 15th and 17th centuries. Inspired by Chinese porcelain wares and the intricate designs of Persian pottery, Iznik wares often depicted floral motifs in colors of deep blues and white. In the mid-16th century, the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent sent Iznik potters to repair tiles at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Once their work was completed, the Iznik potters traveled about 135 miles north to Damascus, a city in present-day Syria. The artisans settled in Damascus, continuing to create tiles and vessels rooted in the Iznik tradition. Yet, it was in Damascus that the color palette changed from bright whites and vibrant blues and reds to more muted tones inspired by nature. In object M167, one may notice blues inspired by the sky and sea, hints of sage green reminiscent of vegetation, and earthy brown accents. 

Although Iznik ceramics are considered to be the emblems of the golden age of Islamic tile production, Damascus tiles found throughout the Ottoman Empire and in its capital city of Istanbul were more readily available to Western collectors in the 19th century. It is through this market that Western museums and many collectors were able to acquire Damascus tiles and may be how this particular tile ended up as part of the Minassian’s collection.

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21

Read about the history of the Minassian Collection here.

Read more about Damascus tiles and see other examples:

Tile | The Art Institute of Chicago

Show this image Ottoman dynasty (1299-1923), 16th or 17th century Syria This tile belongs to group of ceramics sometimes referred to as Damascus or Syrian ware that are closely related to Iznik ceramics. These wares were produced in Damascus in the mid-16th century when the Ottoman sultan, Suleyman the Magnificent, sent Iznik potters to repair and restore tilework at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Tile Panel with Wavy-vine Design | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Panel of Underglaze-Painted Tiles As demand for the ceramic production of Iznik increased by the end of the sixteenth century, especially in the area of tile decorations for public and private monuments, Iznik itself fell victim to a series of calamities, including catastrophic fires, the debilitating effects of silicosis (from the dust of the ground flint used for the white ceramic body), lead poisoning (lead is the flux used in the clear glaze that covers Iznik ceramics), the malaria endemic to the Iznik lakeshore that affected the ceramic artisans, and, as we have seen (no

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Brooklyn Museum

Arts of the Islamic World Glazed ceramic tiles were one of the most popular forms of architectural decoration in the Middle East. This panel of tiles has religious subject matter: the Arabic inscriptions name Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, and the four caliphs of the Sunni tradition.

The ‘Damascus School’ influence on the Arts and Crafts Movement – Museum of the Order of St John

This blog starts with these nice earrings, which you can buy online. Or you could buy some cushions instead. As mentioned in the last blog, the 16th- early 17thcentury ‘Damascus School’ of pottery is not seen as the Golden Age of Islamic tile production, this accolade belongs to the master potteries based in Iznik.

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Natural Imagery on a Kubachi Ware Dish

Object: M039
JIAAW, Minassian Collection

Object M039 is a blue and white Kubachi ware dish decorated with birds, flowers, and other vegetal images. Flowers and plants are a common and universal decorative motif found in many styles of artwork throughout the world, and Islamic art is no exception. As the Islamic empire expanded throughout the 7th Century and onwards, the artistic traditions and techniques of conquered areas were adopted into the empire’s ceramic ware production. 

Early Islamic rulers prioritized promoting high levels of production for both everyday and luxury objects over forcing craftspeople to adhere to a distinctive visual language. Thus, the power and wealth of the Islamic empire was emphasized through its incorporation of Byzantine, Egyptian, Iranian, and Roman traditions that drew from natural imagery. 

Over time, however, Islamic art did develop a distinct aesthetic identity. Two prominent features, geometry and symmetry, are seen in the decoration of Object M039. Here, plantlife is depicted in six uniformly spaced segments on the plate’s inside wall. Meanwhile, a bird proudly displays its feathery wings in the center of the piece, a nod to the importance of birds as symbols of safety and rescue in the Muslim tradition. 

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21

Read more about flowers, plants, and birds in Islamic art and see other examples:

Plant motifs in Islamic art

Plant motifs and patterns were used to decorate architecture and objects from the earliest Islamic period. Plants appear in many different forms in Islamic art, ranging from single motifs to extended patterns, and natural depictions of flowers to plant forms which are complicated and heavily stylised.

Dish | Unknown | V&A Explore The Collections

On display at V&A South Kensington Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery Dish of buff-coloured fritware, ‘Kubachi’ type, underglaze-painted in red, blue, green, yellow and green on white slip, featuring a woodland scene with cypress-tree, two birds and flowering trees and plants. The rim is decorated with panels of scale pattern.

A Flight Through Islamic Culture

Birds played a key role in the understanding of the Islamic religion and culture. Dating back to “The miracle of the birds,” an event which occurred around 570 C.E., birds were seen as saviors of the Islamic religion as they stopped an army of invaders from destroying the Kaaba in Mecca.

Dish with Floral Designs on an Olive Background | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This dish is a member of a group of ceramics known as Kubachi ware. Named for a village in the Caucasus where this pottery was discovered in quantity, Kubachi wares are now thought to have actually been produced in Tabriz. An uneven application of the glaze has resulted in a surface-wide crackle, a typical characteristic of the Kubachi wares.

A Sanctuary for Birds: Muslim Civilisation – Muslim Heritage

Few creatures from the animal kingdom can live alongside humans in urban habitats. One of these survivalists are birds. There was a time when birds were simply welcomed and not worshipped not treated badly. You can still find traces of this admiration today.

http://magart.rochester.edu/objects-1/info?query=Portfolios%3D%22613%22&page=18

Bronze Hairpin

Object: 297
JIAAW, Wagner Collection

The Joukowsky Institute is fortunate enough to have two hairpins, one made of bone and the other of bronze, in its collection. This Virtual Vault entry, the second in a series featuring each of the two hairpins in the vault, is about Object 297, the bronze hairpin.

This object is a thin, pointed bronze hairpin adorned with a flat finial in the shape of a bird. A closer look reveals that the bird was created with a punch pattern and is decorated with hammered circles. While the exact age of this hairpin is unknown, it is old enough for green patina to have developed over time, a sign of the natural oxidation of the bronze material. 

Hairpins that are aesthetically similar to Object 297 have been identified as ancient Roman and Greek artifacts. Although this particular hairpin might not be ancient, its design offers insight into the relationship that ancient people had with nature. In his book Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words, Jeremy Mynott describes the various ways in which ancient Greeks and Romans interacted and related with birds. Birds were not only resources for farming and hunting, but were treated as pets, agents, and friends. The ancient practice of augury further demonstrates the importance of birds in the ancient world. The Romans especially paid close attention to the calls, movements, behaviors, and appearances of birds to anticipate the likelihood of certain events. In this way, birds acted as omens from the gods, allowing for deities to communicate with earthly people and demonstrate approval or disapproval of their actions. It’s no wonder that birds showed up as decorative elements in ancient wares and jewelry, including hairpins like Object 297.

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21

Read more about ancient birds and see other examples of hairpins:

Greek & Roman Mythology – Tools

AUGURES Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /www/www-ccat/data/classics/myth/php/tools/dictionary.php on line 64 [not probably, from avis, a bird, but from a lost word, aug-o, to tell; so “declarers” or “tellers”]. A priestly collegium at Rome, the establishment of which was traditionally ascribed to Romulus.

Roman Bronze Hairpin with bird – 105 mm

Roman Bronze Hairpin with bird as adornment – 105mm Material: bronze Dated: 1st-3rd century Roman Empire Europe Country: France Dimensions: 105 mm Weight: 6.32 g. Condition: good condition. Registered and insured shipping Use the pictures to form your own impression. Origin: The seller warrants that this lot has been acquired in a legal manner.

The Ancient Art of Augury

Patterns exist throughout nature. For people ages ago, such things were considered messages from the gods. Decoding these encrypted communications was at the heart of ancient divination, a common practice of early civilizations. Divination methods in antiquity varied in scope. Nearly anything could be viewed as an expression of divine will and available for interpretation,…

Hair Pin | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

Early medieval Bronze ancient hairpin with bird – 11*1.5 cm

Very beautiful Bronze ancient hairpin with bird. Weight – 5.08 grams The object is worthy of your attention! Provenance: The seller of this lot hereby guarantees that this object was obtained legally. It was purchased in Rome, Italy in 2011. Bought at an antique market in Porta Portese from the old collection of the 1970s.

Pin with a Dove Finial (Getty Museum)

Pin with a Dove Finial; Unknown; Etruria; 525-400 B.C.; Gold; 7.7 × 0.8 × 0.5 cm (3 1/16 × 5/16 × 3/16 in.); 96.AM.256; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman; Rights Statement: No Copyright – United States

Bone Hairpin

Object: 333
JIAAW, Wagner Collection

The Joukowsky Institute is fortunate enough to have two hairpins, one made of bone and the other of bronze, in its collection. The next two Virtual Vault entries will feature each of the two hairpins in the vault, starting with Object 333, the bone hairpin. 

Dating as far back as the Neolithic Period (c. 10,000–4,500 BCE), hairpins made of various materials and designs have been used as hairstyle tools as well as status symbols by peoples from ancient Rome and Egypt to the Shang Dynasty of China. While this particular hairpin is not believed to be ancient, it offers a useful starting point to explore the meaning and function of these delicate and fascinating beauty objects. Due to their high rates of survival in archaeological sites, bone, as opposed to precious stone or wood, is the most commonly found hairpin material in ancient settlements. According to the Museum of London, hairpins are one of the most common artifacts that have survived from Roman Britain. Interpreted as indicators of the presence of women, these hairpins have been found in domestic, industrial, and public contexts, including burial sites, waterfront dumps, forts, bath houses, and amphitheaters.

In her article “Ancient Roman hairdressing: on (hair)pins and needles,” Janet Stephens describes how Roman women used hairpins to fasten braids and twists into elaborate hairdos. (p. 116)

 A close reading of classic texts and artwork demonstrates that an ancient hairpin is perhaps not as frivolous as the lost bobby pins of today. In her analysis of the utility of hairpins in ancient Egypt, Joann Fletcher presents hairpins as both functional tools and sacred items that represented women’s connection to goddesses. More than that, hairpins with sharp ends were used by ancient women to violently assert their political stances and autonomy. In both the Roman Republic and in ancient Egypt, Fletcher asserts that the ancient woman used her hairpin as a weapon to avenge her husband’s death, an instrument to pierce her enemies, and, in the case of Cleopatra VII, even a vehicle to take her own life. 

Portrait panel of a woman named Demos, portraying a hairpin, from Hawara, c.AD 80-100 as cited by Joann Fletcher in “The Egyptian Hair Pin: practical, sacred, fatal”

It is almost impossible to decipher the original shape, much less the tiny details, that once graced this bone hairpin due to the breaks and erosion of its surface over time. One could imagine this delicate piece of carved bone being worn, positioned, broken, and later repaired in a variety of fashions and scenarios. Yet, if the women of the ancient world have taught us anything, it is to not limit our imaginations of what an object’s history could entail.

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21

Read more about ancient hairpins and see other examples:

Bone hairpin | Greek or Roman | Hellenistic or Early Imperial | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

Museum of London | Free museum in London

Skip to main content The Museum of London holds one of the largest and most important collections of Roman hairpins in the world, including over a thousand made from bone (other materials include copper-alloy, glass and stone), the majority having been excavated from the city over the past 45 years.

hair-pin | British Museum

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“Ancient Roman hairdressing: on (hair)pins and needles.”

Ancient Roman female hairstyles were not created by wigs exclusively, as is often asserted. Elaborate Roman hairstyles could be created by sewing with needle and thread as fastener. Article examines the nomenclature, literature, artifacts and

Hair Pin

Penn Museum Object 65-2-10 – Hair Pin

The Egyptian Hair Pin: practical, sacred, fatal

Joann Fletcher Department of Archaeology, King’s Manor, University of York, YO1 7EP, UK. Email: [email protected] Cite this as: Fletcher, J. 2016 The Egyptian Hair Pin: practical, sacred, fatal, Internet Archaeology 42. http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.42.6.5 Generally regarded as little more than a mundane tool employed in daily life, the humble hairpin occasionally played a rather more prominent role in history than has perhaps been appreciated.