Ancient Egyptian carved black basalt torso of a Goddess or a noble in a vertically striated garment and ornamental belt. Ptolemaic.
Ancient Egyptian hollow bronze seated cat statue with traces of green patina. Cats were the sacred animal of the Sun God Ra. The earliest Egyptian depiction of the cat took the form of three hieroglyph symbols, each representing seated cats. These formed part of the phrase ‘Lord of the City of Cats’ inscribed on a stone block from El-Lisht that may date as early as the reign of Pepy II, 2278-2184 BC. The Egyptian word for cat was the onomatopoeic term miw. 26th Dynasty.
Staten island Museum
Ancient Asian bronze sword with decorative designs including Chinese inscriptions, stylized human figures and faces and various other geometric patterns. 400-200 BC
Title: Venus Torso
Dates: c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.
Staten Island Musuem
Title: Moche Pottery Jar
Medium: Ceramic with slip paint
Dates: c. 5th – 9th Century
Culture: South American
Staten Island Museum
Title: Globular Nazca Jar
Medium: Ceramic pottery
Staten Island Museum
Artist: Bengali Palas
Title: Dancing Ganesha
Dates: c. 10th-11th Century
Dimensions: 26.5” H
Staten Island Museum
Greek Tetradrachm from Abdera, Thrace, c. 439-410 BC
Obverse: a leaping Gryphon. Reverse: an eagle flying in a square surround by the letters E–KA / TA / IO / S. All within an incuse square.
Herodotus mentions Gryphons in his Histories:
“But in the north of Europe there is by far the most gold. In this matter again I cannot say with assurance how the gold is produced, but it is said that one-eyed men called Arimaspians steal it from Gryphons.”
“It is from the Issedones that the tale comes of the one-eyed men and the griffins that guard gold”
So it is very fitting that a Gryphon should be put on a coin since, in mythology, it is an ancient guardian of gold.
Herodotus also says that the Teans, dreading the encroachments of the Persians and Cyrus the Great (c. 540 BC), abandoned their city and moved to Abdera in Thrace. The were originally from Teos in Ionia (Asia Minor), which was a flourishing seaport. The Teans brought the Gryphon myth with them, as the coinage of Teos also bears the Gryphon. The creature was sacred to Apollo, to whom most Ionian cities worshiped, especially Teos.
Abdera was a city-state on the coast of Thrace 17 km east-northeast of the mouth of the Nestos, and almost opposite Thasos. The site now lies in the Xanthi regional unit of modern Greece.
The common perception is that the great statues and buildings of ancient Greece and Rome were all pure unpainted stone or green tarnished bronze, but researchers have been arguing that this may not been what these classic monuments really looked like back in the era of their creation. That, in fact, these statues were quite alive and vibrant, full of color.
Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity is a travelling exhibition of varying format and extent that has been shown in multiple cities worldwide. Its subject is ancient polychromy, i.e. the original, brightly painted, appearance of ancient sculpture and architecture. It features more than 20 full-size color reconstructions of Greek and Roman works, alongside 35 original statues and reliefs.
The color reconstructions are based on close examination of the originals and on scientific analysis of the scarce traces of paint remaining on them. Ultraviolet light, says Ebbinghaus, “brings out ‘paint ghosts,’ differences in the surface structure of the stone caused by different paints and by the weathering of the paints. It can often give you an idea of patterns, even if no pigments survive.” The paint on these reproductions of stone sculptures appears flat, lacking the depth of, say, oil. “We can identify the colorants—mostly minerals and some plants,” says Ebbinghaus, “but binding media are hard to identify. Egg has been used for the reconstructions. If the minerals were ground more finely, a different binding medium used, the paint polished or covered with a protective coating, the effect would be quite different.”
“We now assume that almost all Greek marble sculpture was painted,” she says. “These reconstructions can only be approximations,” but at least they dispel a popular misconception—that most statues of antiquity were plain old white. Plain would not be thought ideal until the Renaissance.
Researchers believe, particalurly Vinzenz Brinkmann who has been doing this research for the past 25 years, that artists used mineral and organic based colors and after centuries of deterioration any trace of pigment leftover when discovered, would have been taken off during any cleaning processes done before being put on display, washing the historical art clear of its true colors.
The findings of this research completley changes the commonly held modern ideas of the ancient world, and the way we view modern sculpture and art today, much of which was based on those classical Greek and Roman styles.