Friday, April 14, 2017

Ceramic Art of the Day

Sticking with the overview of clay constructions here on the Gauntlet. Below is a triptych of glazed drinking mugs I made around the year 2002. The cups themselves are of no importance in style, but the designs I painted onto them may be of some note, albeit in a niche historical way. In line with my interest in languages, particularly ancient, endangered, or extinct ones, each of these three mugs features text written in a language in the previously mentioned categories.

From left to right we have; an ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic cartouche, specifying myself as "the master of the house" with an eye of Horus hidden inside at the bottom of the cup. I always liked reaching the bottom of a bowl or cup of soup as a kid and finding the hidden animals I knew were waiting for me there, so I guess that kind of carried over here. The center piece is a Paleo-Hebrew rhetorical acronym transliterated into modern Hebrew cursive, which reads "Me Chamokah Av Ha-Rachamin", or in English, "Who is like thee father of mercy?". This verse was contracted in ancient times during the Jewish revolt against the Greek Seleucid dynasty of Syria (Hanukkah) to form the appellation "Maccabee", the name for the resistance fighters who eventually became the Hasmonean dynasty of Judea. The cup to the far right features an excerpt from an extinct Pre-Latin Italian language of central Italy known as Osco-Umbrian. I copied the untranslated snippet of text from a piece of ancient pottery I noted in a museum in either Rome or Bologna. Perhaps not as interesting as more mysterious Pre-Latin languages such as Etruscan or Venetic, Oscan is fun (for me) mostly because it shares so many similarities with Latin and ancient Greek, without foreshadowing Latin's later dominance, such as the Faliscan dialect did.


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