November 21, 2017 | Author: Angelo_Colonna | Category: Ancient Egypt, Mycenaean Greece, Mycenae, Icon, Bronze Age
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This paper turns to the cultural interaction between the Aegean, Egypt and the Near East and surveys the advances in iconographic studies from the publication of Helene Kantor’s 1947 monograph to the present.1 Icons and Iconography Now, “Iconography” may not be a word that is constantly on your lips but I am sure you are all familiar with “icon.” Taken from the Greek “eikQn” meaning “likeness” or “image,” albeit in its Latin spelling i-c-o-n, “icon” has become one of the “in” words of the 90s. Think of some of today’s familiar Icons and Logos. One, known for the first time by our generation, is the picture of our world seen from space, “our beautiful blue planet,” the memorable image which has captured all our imaginations. Icons from the corporate and business world, like the symbols for credit card operators and the logos for airline companies, are designed to achieve high “Brand Name Recognition.” When the image is memorable, so much can be called upon in the mind of the viewer that many layers of meaning are transmitted instantly, effectively. Remember too, the brilliant insight that made Apple Macintosh so user friendly (and forced competitors to follow likewise) — it uses icons for instructions and information. So, in the late 20th century, with the help of technological advances in the visual and electronic media, the world has become again a visual society, working in images, similar to the ancient world. The impact of the icon is recognized by modern media moguls every bit as avidly as any ancient artist praising the gods or celebrating a king’s victory. Perhaps the most readily recognizable icon of kingly power in the ancient world is that of the image of Pharaoh. To state the authority of this god-king, Egyptian artists developed a strict set of rules for the representation of his seated and standing figures and created a repertoire of activities for declaring Pharaoh’s special relationship with the great gods. With this example of ancient art, let us proceed from “icon” to “iconography,” joining the Greek “gráfv,” meaning “I draw or paint or write,” and “eikQn.” “Iconography” is literally “writing in images” and refers to that study of art which concerns itself with the image and its meaning. Iconography works to identify the details of writing the image and to explain the meaning encapsulated in that image. Iconographic analysis would thus describe the great statue of the Pharaoh Khafre2 according to the formulaic pose of the seated human figure and to the artistic motifs which surround him, the Horus Falcon protecting his head and the Symbol of the Union of Upper and Lower Egypt in the finest relief on the side of his throne. These motifs (the regular art term for a distinctive image is “motif” rather than “icon”) are able to be “read” and their meaning extracted because we have the help of translated texts. With this all too brief introduction to icons and artistic motifs, to iconography and iconographic analysis, let us turn to the artistic traditions of the Bronze Age world.

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I should like to thank Eric H. Cline and Diane Harris-Cline for the invitation to speak at this conference and the Kress Foundation for its contribution to travel expenses from Australia. This paper was composed in answer to a request for an overview of the topic on the occasion of the Cincinnati Conference. The constraints on such an overview mean that not every aspect can be covered in detail. Diorite statue from Giza, Dynasty IV, K. MICHALOWSKI, The Art of Ancient Egypt (1969) Pl. 62.



The Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Aegean Artistic Traditions The three seminal artistic traditions of the Bronze Age world were the Egyptian, the Mesopotamian and the Aegean. In the Middle and Late Bronze Age, which is our focus of interest here, we shall meet the Mesopotamian tradition in Syria where its inf luence had been pervasive since Early Dynastic times.3 Each of these artistic traditions has distinct characteristics. Pl. XVIIa

Egyptian Art: Painted Relief from the Tomb of Ti at Saqqarah, Hunt Scene

The scene depicts a hippopotamus hunt in the papyrus marshes. The most characteristic compositional features of Egyptian art are observable here. The relief is organized in a frieze or horizontal register. The main standing figure is constructed according to the Egyptian grid formula and is shown enlarged in relation to subsidiary figures. Note how all feet are firmly placed on a ground line, even the hippopotami below the water and the hunting ichneumons on the bending stalks of the stylized papyrus thicket.4 Pl. XVIIb

Mesopotamian Art: Greenstone Cylinder Seal, Exploits of the Gods

The frieze of the cylinder seal with its compositional restraints is the ubiquitous art form of the Ancient Near East and the one which fostered most of its design principles. The various gods, identified by their horned helmets and particular attributes springing from their shoulders, enact their heavenly exploits in holy territory signified by the scale mountain motif beneath their feet. As in Egypt we are helped with understanding the iconography because the texts are translated.5 Pl. XVIIc

Aegean Art: Kamares Ware Bowl from Phaistos, Spiraliform Design

The spiraliform designs of the Aegean area are among their most distinctive. Here the composition is a play on the quadrilateral spiral, its interlinking elements entwining f loral and foliate motifs.6 Taking as the other example of Aegean art, the Ship Scene Fresco from Thera, allows discussion of certain characteristic motifs and compositional features. The great f leet sails from one port to another accompanied by dolphins and smaller craft. Though worked within a frieze, artistically it shows a completely different compositional imperative from Egypt and Mesopotamia in the way the figures are seen, freely placed, against a landscaped, or seascaped, background. Note that the lively poses of the leaping dolphins are paralleled by the spirited poses of the land animals. Here, the running pose with legs stretched out, free of ground contact, is called the f lying gallop motif.7 In the Aegean, we can always describe the iconography but we can rarely understand it. The spiraliform and nature motifs may be appreciated but the full import of the activities of the human figures is not accessible. The texts of the Aegean are either not translated, or, when translated as is the case with Mycenaean Linear B, are not really informative about the subject matter of art. This is a problem which sets Aegean iconography apart from that of the two older traditions to the East, the Mesopotamian and Egyptian, whose iconography is decipherable.8

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The early seal designs are treated in P. AMIET, La glyptique mésopotamienne archaïque (1961). For analyses of the forms of Egyptian art, see W. STEVENSON SMITH, Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom (1946) and H. SCHAFER, Principles of Egyptian Art (1986). H. FRANKFORT, Cylinder Seals (1939) and F. DIGARD, Répertoire analytique des cylinders orientaux (1975). Spiraliform designs are analyzed in F. MATZ, Die früh-kretischen Siegel (1928) and Kamares ware in G. WALBERG, Kamares: A Study of the Character of Palatial Middle Minoan Pottery (1987). Thera I-VII, Vol VI, Colour Plate 9. Such problems were under investigation at the 1992 Hobart Conference on Iconography, now published as EIKVN.



So, the essential, and different, characteristics of these three traditions will need to be kept in mind as we continue this discussion. Because these three traditions are so different, each with its own special motifs and its distinct compositional features, it is possible to trace interaction and borrowings between them. The Aegean link will focus our attention on interconnections in the Middle and Late Bronze Age.9 The following exposition, because of its survey nature, will not be able to mention all the scholars who have contributed to this field of research. It will only be possible to highlight some of the studies.10 Helene Kantor, 1947 Helene Kantor, in her 1947 monograph, The Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium B.C., in a systematic way, addressed the fact that certain pieces of art in widely separated sites showed similar artistic motifs. She looked at the Aegean from an oriental viewpoint, “recording the impact of the vigorous and creative Western culture upon the civilizations of the Levant.”11 Kantor showed that Aegean spiraliform designs appear in Egypt in the Middle Kingdom, the earliest of the Aegean motifs to travel east. A continuing tradition and/or renewed contacts later allowed ceiling patterns from Dynasty XVIII to maintain the Egyptian interest in interlinked spirals though the treatment is rather more static than when the spiral is at home in the West.12 Kantor also showed that various motifs, eastern and western, may be used in the one piece. This is particularly the case with the Ivory Relief from Ugarit showing a Mistress of Animals.13 The theme of the goddess feeding animals, the scale mountain and the compositional motif of the antithetical group are Mesopotamian but the goddess wears Aegean clothes, has an Aegean hairstyle and (almost) sits on an Aegean altar below an Aegean tri-curved arch pattern. In the treasure of Queen Aa-hotep, mother of Ahmose, Kantor saw a piece of important evidence for Aegean artistic inf luence in Egypt.14 She compared the design of running animals on the midrib of Aa-hotep’s dagger to the designs on the daggers from the Shaft Graves showing the Aegean f lying gallop.15 Pl. XVIId

Wall Painting from the Tomb of Puimre at Thebes, Hunt Scene

Several Egyptian wall paintings use the spirited Aegean animal poses and show that they transferred within their Aegean hunting milieu. This scene captures both the iconographic detail and the compositional elan of its Aegean prototypes. Kantor’s iconographic analysis of this piece and comparisons with traditional Egyptian hunting scenes and Aegean examples showing swift movement and aggression brought her to coin the name, “Aegean Animal Style” and list its characteristic motifs as the f lying gallop, f lying leap, reverse twist and folded pose. With this analysis, she provided a classic argument for Aegean inf luence on Egyptian art as well as a basic treatise on animal poses in Aegean art.16

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11 12 13 14 15 16

On the vexed subject of Chronology, see SWDS, 5-8, and S.W. MANNING, The Absolute Chronology of the Aegean Early Bronze Age (1995) and paper in this volume. For a convenient noting of the main studies on interconnections including inf luences in art, see SWDS, 3-4. For fuller coverage see the bibliographies in SWDS and J.L. CROWLEY, The Aegean and the East, An Investigation into the Transference of Artistic Motifs between the Aegean, Egypt and the Near East in the Bronze Age (1989). KANTOR, Preface, 3. Ibid. 21-30, Pls. I, III, V, VI and 56-61, Pls. X, XI. She devotes a whole section to the pyxis lid; Ibid. 86-89, Pl. XXII. A full section is given to this piece too; Ibid. 63-66, Pls. XIII A and XIV. For discussion of the f lying gallop in the later periods see Ibid. 92-97. Ibid. 62-71, Pls. XIII to XXI. The “reverse twist” is Kantor’s “shift in the axis,” 67.




Design on an Ivory Pyxis from Athens, Griffins Hunting Deer

Here, an import from the East, the griffin, has become a very Aegean creature. With the utmost aggression, two griffins crunch down hapless deer into folded poses. Even the plant is f lattened by the whoosh of air as a griffin f lies past.17 Kantor collected the artistic evidence for interconnections between the Aegean and her “Orient,” carefully assessing the historical implications. The precise parallels in iconographic detail convinced her to argue for the sharing of certain motifs between these artistic traditions and, specifically, for the inf luencing of the East by the Aegean. Her method is exemplary, her arguments are cogent, her insights are visionary. The 1947 monograph is a point of departure for all subsequent scholarship in the field of iconography and interconnections. Developments following Kantor Over the next forty years, the direct focus on artistic motifs produced some significant works. The first example chosen here is from the investigations of Margaret Gill who showed how the Egyptian Thoueris became the Minoan Genius.18 Pl. XVIIIa

Painted Ceiling in the Tomb of Senmut at Thebes, Astronomical Scene

Thoueris, the hippopotamus goddess stands in human posture, crocodile draped down her back, holding a sword and a crocodile. Pl. XVIIIb

Gold Signet Ring from Tiryns, Minoan Genii in Procession

Thoueris has now become the Minoan Genius. Acclimatizing to the Aegean has meant assuming the Minoan cinched waist, reducing the crocodile cape to a knobbed shell-like protection on the back and taking up a Minoan ewer. These changes can be seen gradually occurring in Aegean examples from Minoan seals19 through to this late version from Tiryns. New sites and new finds provided more evidence for interconnections in art. The work of André Parrot at Mari on the upper Euphrates and the subsequent publication of the paintings from the Palace of Zimri-Lim discovered there provided some of the most significant pieces of evidence that iconographic transference did occur. The large wall painting, “The Investiture,”20 takes as its main subject the king receiving the symbols of authority from the hands of the goddess Ishtar. Most of the iconography is Mesopotamian, but there is an intrusive sphinx and papyrus-like f lowers grow from a palm tree. Most surprising is the border of Aegean running spirals. The use of this Aegean motif is paralleled by marbling patterns and a running spiral border on the throne podium and waz lily forms in a f loor design.21 For such Aegean motifs to be painted in a palace on the Euphrates, the mobility of artisans has also to be considered as a means of transmission. In the Aegean the excavations at Thera revealed a maritime society with a taste for beautiful wall paintings22 while the cache of thirty-two cylinder seals found in Mycenaean Thebes exampled the direct import.

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Ibid. 97-98, Pl. XXIII 2. M.A.V. GILL, “The Minoan Genius,” Athenische Mitteilungen 79 (1964) 1-21 and Idem, “Apropos the Minoan ‘Genius’,” AJA 74 (1970) 404-406. Compare the scarab seal found at Platanos (CMS II.1 283) and the sealing from the Phaistos Palace (CMS II.5 322) and the amygdaloid seal (CMS XII 212). A. PARROT, Mission de Mari Vols I-II (1956-59) Fig. 47, Pl. A. The painting is in Court 106 which looks through to Room 64 and the throne podium. Both important features show Aegean designs. Ibid. Fig. 54 for the throne podium and Figs. 10-11 for the volute design in Room 53. Including landscapes with papyrus plants, Thera V (supra n. 7), Pls. E, F and Thera VI (supra n. 7), Colour Pl. 8.



Lapis Lazuli Cylinder Seal from Thebes Greece, Mesopotamian Motifs

These cylinder seals show how direct import of foreign items can provide, within a new land, representations of motifs to inspire copies and facilitate artistic borrowings. Edith Porada explains the motifs of the Mesopotamian tradition on the seals.23 The seal illustrated here shows a master of animals motif which uses the antithetical group as the compositional formula. Books on ancient art took to noting inf luences from one artistic tradition to another in special chapters.24 Fritz Schachermeyr took interconnections as the focus25 and his detailed investigation of cultural interaction also dealt with motif transference. He drew upon the material that Kantor had illustrated but gathered much additional evidence to argue strongly for cultural interaction and iconographic borrowing. Pl. XVIIId

Calcite Cosmetic Jar from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Animal Attack

The hunt scene in the panel draws on the Aegean animal attack repertoire.26 Other Aegean inf luences in the east include echoes of Kamares ware from Crete in the light on dark designs on the pottery from Nuzi, capital of Mitanni.27 So, the forty years of scholarship following Kantor saw increasing support for her position and much additional evidence excavated that consolidated the body of material on which she had based her argument. Two authors, William Stevenson Smith and Janice Crowley, returned to the overview of interconnections and to the focus on iconography which were such features of Kantor’s perspicacious inquiry. William Stevenson Smith, 1965 In his 1965 monograph, Interconnections in the Ancient Near East, Stevenson Smith widened the discussion with his work on large scale compositions and the concepts of the “Cavalier Perspective” and the “International Style.” Stevenson Smith took the Silver Rhyton from Mycenae showing the Siege of a Coastal City and used this design to explain the Aegean organization of three-dimensional space in two-dimensional art forms. He adopted the anachronistic term “Cavalier Perspective” to describe this Aegean rendering of a scene, not in true perspective but as if seen from a high vantage point, the “cavalier” being the elevated structure for a gun emplacement.28 When comparing the Late Bronze Age Aegean treatment of extended scenes to large scale compositions from Dynasties XVIII and XIX, he found that Egypt’s traditional horizontal register system has now been modified. Pharaoh’s figure is still enlarged in relation to other figures and regularly balances several registers of his own troops behind him. However, before him, where once his enemies would have been arranged as bound prisoners also in superimposed registers, they now are a tangle of bodies in disarray and mangled horses and chariots. This handling of the defeated enemies is a continuation of the Aegean inf luences seen earlier in the melee of animal bodies in the hunt scenes of the early 18th Dynasty.

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25 26 27 28

E. PORADA, “The Cylinder Seals Found at Thebes in Boeotia,” AfO 28 (1981) 1-70. See also J. ARUZ’s paper in this volume. Particularly P. DEMARGNE, Aegean Art (1964) in Ch. VII, “The Expansion of the Mycenaean World: The Rise of Composite Civilizations;” V. KARAGEORGHIS, Cyprus (1968) 140 where he discusses the “Aegeo-Oriental Style;” and R. HAMPE and E. SIMON, The Birth of Greek Art (1981) 283-84, who stress the links with the east while summarizing the continuity between Mycenaean and later Greek art. F. SCHACHERMEYR, Ägäis und Orient (1967), particularly in the analyses in Ch. 4, 30-64. Ibid. The vase is illustrated (Pl. 163) and the animal poses compared (Pls. 117-26 and 160-82). Ibid. Pls. 146-49. Interconnections, 63-64, Fig. 84.




Wall Reliefs from Luxor and Abu Simbel, Ramesses II at the Battle of Kadesh

Analysis of these two reliefs shows that the horizontal registers have been completely replaced with an inventive schema that both sets the scene with accurate details of the terrain and also tells the story of the battle. The schema owes some debt to the earlier Egyptian formula of juxtaposing plan and elevation views in the one composition. However, Stevenson Smith argues that much in the new concept belongs to the elevated view point of the Aegean “Cavalier Perspective.”29 Now, Stevenson Smith also saw by the Late Bronze Age such a mix of motifs from the Aegean, Egypt and the Near East, worked on fine rich pieces that he coined the description, the “International Style,” to describe their designs. Pl. XIXa

Niello Bowl from Enkomi, Arcade Pattern with Rosettes and Bucrania

Pl. XIXb

Faience Rhyton from Kition, Hunt Scenes in Superimposed Registers

Both these were included in his list of examples of the “International Style.”30 While the export/import of such rich pieces was no doubt one of the main means of transference of motifs, interest in mastering the technique of manufacture could have been another impetus. In transmitting the skills of metal working or of the production of faience, knowledge of motifs could have been shared too.31 In all, Stevenson Smith gathered together the main points of iconographic transmission and, most importantly, threw out some new challenges to our understanding of the artistic interconnections debate. Janice Crowley, 1989 In my own 1989 monograph, The Aegean and the East, An Investigation into the Transference of Artistic Motifs between the Aegean, Egypt and the Near East in the Bronze Age, I continued on from Stevenson Smith to argue for even more sharing across the artistic traditions. As with Kantor, it was the coincidence of iconographic detail which underpinned my arguments for motif transference.32 The example here is of two renderings of the motif of the attacking cat.33 Pl. XIXc

Steatite Lentoid Seal from Arkhanes, Cat Catching Birds

In the small compass of this Minoan seal, the circular field sets tight constraints on the artist. However the aggression of the hunting cat is admirably portrayed as it twists to bite and claw the waterfowl. Pl. XIXd

Wall Painting from the Tomb of Nebamun at Thebes, Cat Catching Birds

The same aggression is seen in this Egyptian wall painting where the attacking cat captures three birds while resting on one papyrus stalk and balancing one paw on another. This vestige of allegiance to the ground line rule and the suggestion of replacing the “ichneumon hunting” motif are virtually the only Egyptian traces in the composition. The supercat here is from the same litter as the supercat on the seal. Knowing the static animal hunting compositions of the Egyptian repertoire it is easy to see Aegean inf luence on the Nebamun cat.

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Ibid. 165-79, The Ramesside Battle Scenes. Ibid. 18, 32, 44, 97, 107, 109, 113. For further comments on these features see R. LAFFINEUR’s paper in this volume. CROWLEY (supra n. 10) Ch. 1: Artistic Tradition and Iconographic Analysis, 1-6. Ibid. Part 1: The Motifs, 9-180, examines the transferences motif by motif. The attacking cat is discussed within the hunt motif under Pl. 421, the Nebamon Hunting Scene. The Arkhanes seal is compared but not illustrated.



Summing up the sharing of motifs, I concluded that the only credible explanation for the appearance of such co-incidence of iconographic detail in widely separated examples was for the transference of motifs between artistic traditions to be on a larger scale than had been previously suspected. This transference produced a repertoire of motifs which was used in common by artists across the traditions. I called it the “International Repertoire.”34 All three traditions had contributed motifs and, by the Late Bronze Age, Aegean, Egyptian and Syrian artists could choose any of these motifs as substitute for, or in addition to, motifs from their own national styles. Accepting Stevenson Smith’s “International Style” as a great insight into what was happening to art in the cosmopolitan world of the Late Bronze Age, I sought only to add one further defining feature to his list: that pieces be worked in a cohesive style. Pl. XIXe

Gold Bowl from Ugarit, Ornate International Style

Here various motifs are so worked into a cohesive whole that the piece can be considered wrought in a specific style, but not one belonging to any particular national style. Its f lorid effect gives rise to the title, Ornate. Pl. XIXf

Gold Patera from Ugarit, Severe International Style

This piece too, shows various motifs from the International Repertoire worked into a cohesive style. Its restrained effect suggests the epithet, Severe. Having to meet the combined Stevenson Smith-Crowley criteria means that relatively few pieces are classed as worked in the “International Style.”35 Other “international” pieces are more convincing in artistic terms when seen as examples of the use of the “International Repertoire” of motifs by artists working in different areas. The Enkomi Bowl (Pl. XIXa above) and the Kition Rhyton (Pl. XIXb above) are two such pieces. Continuing Stevenson Smith’s work on landscapes, I agreed with his concept of the artist composing a scene from an elevated viewpoint but found it unnecessarily confusing to use the anachronistic term, “Cavalier Perspective.” Pl. XIXg

Gold Signet Ring from Isopata, Scene with Women Outdoors

The human figures are freely placed against a landscape suggested by the plant clumps scattered around. These Aegean compositions are the first to attempt this natural rendering of the world as a human being sees it. Believing that the importance of this Aegean creation deserves its own new name, I suggested a term, “Mountain View Perspective,” which indicates one source of inspiration for Minoan artists, travelling over their own mountainous island with ever-changing panoramas before them.36 Pl. XIXh

Wall Painting from the Palace at Amarna, Plant Clumps

The iconography of Egyptian plants was set in the Old Kingdom and encompassed standard forms for the various plants when in a natural setting and more stylized forms when used for architecture or symbols. The freer treatment of plants as in this Amarna example owes much to the Aegean landscape idiom. In reviewing the behavior of transferring motifs, I then tried to examine the artistic and cultural issue of how deeply these foreign motifs penetrated the indigenous style. The concepts of “Intrusive Element” and “Incorporated Element” were developed as an attempt at explanation and measurement.37

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The International Repertoire, Ibid. 192-201, 297, Table 2. The International Style, Ibid. 221-44. See also P. REHAK and J. YOUNGER’s paper in this volume. Mountain View Perspective, CROWLEY (supra n. 10) 147, 164, 178, 187, 231. Intrusive Element and Incorporated Element, Ibid. 202-213.



Pl. XXa

Cedar Throne from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Running Spiral Border

The exquisitely carved relief decoration of the cedar throne is pure Egyptian iconography with one exception — the two gold bands with running spiral borders. The motif of the running spiral is not blended in any way with the Egyptian iconography but is an intrusive Aegean element. Pl. XXb

Lion Gate Relief at Mycenae, Antithetical Group and Heraldic Poses

Both the antithetical group and the heraldic poses are originally Mesopotamian in origin but have so happily migrated to the Mediterranean littoral and thence to the Aegean world that they are completely at home in Aegean art. Each is an incorporated element in Mycenaean design. Another issue raised was the acceptance or rejection of motifs.38 What is the criterion for transference of motifs? Is it the” icon impact” we spoke about earlier, when the motif is so clear and meaningful that it becomes the “memorable image” to stay in our minds and work its layers of meaning in our thinking? Look at two examples where motifs, extremely powerful in their own traditions, did not transfer. Pl. XXc

Gold Cushion-shaped Seal from Mycenae, Duel Scene

This seal from the Shaft Graves gives perhaps the clearest statement of a favoured Aegean, Mycenaean, motif, the duel. It is a particularly powerful icon, a memorable image, yet it did not impinge on the eastern artistic traditions. Pl. XXd

Relief on the Slate Palette of King Narmer, Pharaoh as Smiting Hero

The motif of the victorious Pharaoh, in characteristic pose with arm upraised to smite the hapless prisoner, is one of the most used images throughout all periods in Egypt. In lands heir to Mesopotamian iconography, the same image of the striding human figure with weapon arm upraised is used for the storm god. One would think that, with a motif so significant in both eastern traditions, the icon impact would be doubled and it would surely penetrate Aegean art. Not so. Neither of these two powerful motifs transferred. Is it because the underlying meaning is not compatible with the ethos of the land whose tradition rejects the motifs? So, a decade ago, through the iconographic analysis of some fifty motifs, I argued for considerable sharing in art, added an “International Repertoire” to the “International Style” and suggested new perspectives on cultural contacts. However, bold as this seemed in 1989, it now appears that the interconnections and artistic sharing were even more extensive than I proposed. Iconographic Studies and New Archaeological Finds of the Past Decade The last ten years have seen a quickening in the interest in interconnections, not least because of the debate over Martin Bernal’s Black Athena volumes.39 Elizabeth Barber has treated the evidence of the textiles,40 Sarah Morris has stressed the importance of links made first in the Bronze Age41 and Eric Cline has just given us a succinct study of international trade in the Late Bronze Age and two invaluable catalogues of the literary and pictorial evidence and the Orientalia and Occidentalia.42

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CROWLEY (supra n. 10) 269-83, Ch. 9: Acceptance and Rejection of Motifs. See SWDS, 3-4 for a summary of publications 1989-1992 and E.H. CLINE and J.D. MUHLY, “Preface to the 1997 Reprint,” in KANTOR (1997) for notes on important publications 1989-1994. E.J.W. BARBER, Prehistoric Textiles (1991) and paper in this volume. S.P. MORRIS, Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art (1992) and paper in this volume. SWDS. See also G. KOPCKE, Handel (1990).



Iconographic studies have closely followed the new archaeological finds and these have been at once a corroboration of the earlier arguments for intercommunications as well as a challenge for us to understand the intercultural links more fully.43 George Bass and his team have uncovered in the Uluburun shipwreck so much evidence for trade and international links that it is still taking time to assess in full.44 The excavation of the site of Tel Nami on the Israeli Coast has revealed a busy seaport in the Middle and Late Bronze Age. Michal Artzy, the excavator, notes that many finds provide evidence for the cosmopolitan nature of this seaside town. By the Late Bronze Age there are connections to the Aegean, Cyprus, Egypt and the trade routes of the East.45 Pl. XXe

Gold Jewellery from Tel Nami

Note the fine work on the earrings with the “mulberry.” Also in Israel, at the site of Tel Kabri, a palace has been found which contains a painted f loor and fragments of wall painting. These are executed in true fresco and there are f loral and marbling motifs as well as details of landscape in miniature style. As Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier has pointed out, all these are Aegean features and point to close links with Crete, most likely the presence of Minoan artists working in Tel Kabri.46 In Egypt, in the Nile delta, at the site of Tell el-Dabca, iconographic interconnections and the mobility of artists between Bronze Age cities has also become a topic of debate. Manfred Bietak, the excavator of Tell el-Dabca believes that these fragments are part of a bull leaping scene as in the Minoan frescoes in Crete. Controversy rages at present.47 Pl. XXf

Wall Painting from Tell el-Dabca, Man with long ringlets grasping a bull.

Conclusion So at this mid-point of the Conference we have focused on the iconographic interconnections. They are a microcosm of all the intercultural interaction in the Bronze Age. We have looked back to the inspiration of Helene Kantor and we have paid tribute to the scholars who have continued the iconographic research in the fifty years after her. The Egyptian wall paintings showing tribute bearers in Aegean-style clothing now have even more meaning than before.48 The great cities and palaces can be seen as centers of transmission and exchange including the transference of iconography: Thebes, Amarna, Dabca, Nami, Kabri, Ugarit, Mari, Nuzi, Enkomi, Phaistos, Knossos, Tiryns, Mycenae.49 This paper, through iconographic analysis, has placed before you some, and reviewed many more, of the memorable images that form the basis of the argument for the transference of motifs between

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46 47 48


Note the challenges in J.A. MacGILLIVRAY’s paper in this volume. See G.F. BASS’s paper in this volume. M. ARTZY, “Incense, Camels and Collared Rim Jars: Desert Trade Routes and Maritime Outlets in the Second Millennium,” OJA 13 (1994) 121-47; Eadem, “Nami: A Second Millennium International Maritime Trading Center in the Mediterranean,” Recent Excavations in Israel A View to the West: Archaeological Institute of America Colloquia and Conference Papers No. 1 (1995) 17-40. See W-D. and B. NIEMEIER’s paper in this volume. Sequential articles in M. BIETAK (ed.), Ägypten und Levante I-V (1990-1994); M. BIETAK, Avaris, the Capital of the Hyksos: recent excavations at Tell el-Dabca (1996). See P. REHAK’s paper in this volume, updating the studies begun in detail in J. VERCOUTTER, L’Égypte et le monde égéen préhellénique (1956). Note particularly the depiction of the figures of the “Northern Embassy” in the wall painting from the Tomb of Puimre, N. de G. DAVIES, The Tomb of Puyemre at Thebes Vols I-II (1922) Frontispiece. The Egyptian artist has recorded four men, each with distinct features and garb, the third possibly being a Minoan and the fourth a Mycenaean. Just such are the merchants, artists and ambassadors who made the intercultural transmissions possible. One would wish Malcolm Wiener to write a fuller exposition of his “Versailles Effect.”



the artistic traditions. These are the “icons” to stay with you as you recall this glimpse into the cosmopolitan world of the Second Millennium BC. With this Conference, the topic has come of age. Finally, as we turn to the next fifty years of scholarship in iconography and interconnections, what questions should we be asking, what should be our focus? I suggest that three areas of investigation are crucial. Area 1: Concentration on the key-sites for interconnections: Excavation of sites like Thera, Miletos, Tell el-Dabca and Kamid el-Loz will need to be paralleled by a re-assessment of the evidence for interconnections at sites like Mari, Alalakh, Amarna and Malkata. Area 2: Work to achieve an accurate chronology: Any more subtle understanding of the international scene and its artistic inf luences is dependent on knowing who is in contact with whom. The present dichotomy of dates for the eruption of Thera which causes so much trouble for Aegeanists is only one of the problems. Accuracy in dating for both the Near Eastern sites and the earlier periods in Egypt is also a necessity for anchoring the correlations. Area 3: Dialogue on the cultural significance of the acceptance of artistic transferences: The level of inf luence on foreign traditions and the acceptance or rejection of motifs are some of the issues ripe for discussion. If these investigations are pursued with vigor, it may be that we will have a very much greater appreciation of the international world of the Bronze Age and the people who lived in it in less than one hundred years from Kantor’s monograph. Janice L. CROWLEY




Egyptian Art: Painted Relief from the Tomb of Ti at Saqqarah, Dyn V: Hunt Scene (MICHALOWSKI [supra n. 2] 76) Mesopotamian Art: Greenstone Cylinder Seal, Akkadian: Exploits of the Gods (T. POTTS, Civilisation [1990] 32-33) Aegean Art: Kamares Ware Bowl from Phaistos, MM II: Spiraliform Design (S. MARINATOS, Crete and Mycenae [1960] Pl. XIII) Wall Painting from the Tomb of Puimre at Thebes, Dyn XVIII: Hunt Scene (KANTOR, Pl. XIII B) Design on an Ivory Pyxis from Athens, LH IIIA: Griffins Hunting Deer (KANTOR, Pl. XXIII 2) Painted Ceiling in the Tomb of Senmut at Thebes, Dyn XVIII: Astronomical Scene (MICHALOWSKI [supra n. 2] 51) Gold Signet Ring from Tiryns: Minoan Genii in Procession (CMS I 179) Lapis Lazuli Cylinder Seal from Thebes Greece: Mesopotamian Motifs (Das Mykenische Hellas: Heimat der Helden Homers [1988] 275) Calcite Cosmetic Jar from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Dyn XVIII: Animal Attack (H. CARTER and A. C. MACE, The Tomb of Tutankhamun Vol II [1927] Pl. LI) Wall Reliefs from Luxor and Abu Simbel: Ramesses II at the Battle of Kadesh (Interconnections, Figs. 216, 217) Niello Bowl from Enkomi, LC IIA-B: Arcade Pattern with Rosettes and Bucrania (R. A. HIGGINS, Minoan and Mycenaean Art [1967] 151) Faience Rhyton from Kition, LC IIC: Hunt Scenes in Superimposed Registers (KARAGEORGHIS [supra n. 24] 77) Steatite Lentoid Seal from Arkhanes: Cat Catching Birds (Photograph courtesy I. PINI) Wall Painting from the Tomb of Nebamun at Thebes, Dyn XVIII: Cat Catching Birds (N. de G. DAVIS, Ancient Egyptian Paintings Vols I-III [1936] Pl. LXVI) Gold Bowl from Ugarit, c 1400 BC: Ornate International Style (Interconnections, Fig. 48) Gold Patera from Ugarit, c 1400 BC: Severe International Style (DEMARGNE [supra n. 24] 360) Gold Signet Ring from Isopata, LM I: Scene with Women Outdoors (M. ANDRONICOS, Herakleion Museum [1975] Pl. 48) Wall Painting from the Palace at Amarna, Dyn XVIII: Plant Clumps (MICHALOWSKI [supra n. 2] 64) Cedar Throne from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Dyn XVIII: Running Spiral Border (CARTER and MACE [supra Pl. XVIIId] Pl. LXI) Lion Gate Relief at Mycenae, LH III: Antithetical Group and Heraldic Poses (MARINATOS [supra Pl. XVIIc] 141) Gold Cushion-shaped Seal from Mycenae, Shaft Graves: Duel Scene (CMS I 11) Relief on the Slate Palette of King Narmer, Dyn I: Pharaoh as Smiting Hero (MICHALOWSKI [supra n. 2] 57) Gold Jewellery from Tel Nami (Photograph courtesy M. Artzy) Design on a Fragment of a Wall Painting, Tell el-Dabca: Man Grasping a Bull (Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Pl. 1)



Discussion following J.L. Crowley’s paper: M. Sugerman: In yesterday’s papers we mentioned the “International Style,” or the “International Repertoire,” and in your talk today, you showed us examples in monumental stonework, fresco or secco wall painting, cylinder seals, ivory and wood carving, niello and other metal work, faience, and I’m wondering if, although we have approached some of the questions in terms of the way that these motifs transferred between cultures, what about the questions about the way that they transfer between media? To what extent might there be problems with the way that some of these icons or motifs transfer between certain media, or do you think this isn’t a problem at all? J.L. Crowley: Oh no, I do think it is quite an issue to be addressed; I just can’t do everything in thirtyfive minutes. Some motifs seem to work better in some media than others, obviously spirals lend themselves to metalwork, pottery, and painting. There does seem to be quite a deal of evidence for a f low back and forth between artisans, though, and I think if you took the seal designs as a guide, you can find developed in the seal designs much of what turns out in others. The Lion Gate which I showed you, for instance, if you followed the seal designs through, you would find that formula, almost exactly that piece or with other animals substituted, with a tree growing out instead of a pillar. So, yes, I think there are cross inf luences. It’s a very fertile field of study; perhaps that’s somewhere we should be looking more. M.J. Mellink: Helene [Kantor] and I had discussions in 1947, when the book was almost out, with other people at the Oriental Institute, where we were arguing what nationality the artist of the Minet el-Beidha pyxis would have belonged to. There was really an option that this would be an Aegeanizing work, say, made in Ugarit by an Ugarit craftsman who was just doing something along the lines of Minoan, or Mycenaean, work. Who could the actual craftsman have been? This is a question of media, too; some of the regional people who were well versed in ivory work could have borrowed or absorbed Aegean motifs and worked them into their repertoire. They could have made them look quite like Aegean art, but there was still something missing. So, we couldn’t agree on the Megiddo griffins, for instance; Helene [Kantor] thought that these were really done by Aegean artists, and I wouldn’t believe that. We would talk about that and make it also an entertainment to try to argue this out — and this you could do. The Minet el-Beidha pyxis lid is another one where people are wondering how “Aegean” this is, and which way the koine goes. But regardless of who carved it, there’s something everyone has in common — the person who wants it, the person who assigns this piece, the person who designs it or orders it, and the artist who finishes it. I’m still not quite sure that we always know what kind of an artist this is at work — whose handwriting we’re looking at. Gifted artists can easily absorb considerable amounts of iconography and of style, and yet they give away something that belongs to their world, that doesn’t belong on Crete or in the Aegean world. I think, in many instances, you have to say this is just “Aegeanizing” work, it’s “International Style,” but it is still worth trying to figure out who is doing it, and where the artists could have grown up, and where the original craftmanship belongs. It is difficult. If you can argue about it, you have a good reason to talk about an “International Style,” a sort of koine of art. I’d be very happy with that, and I hope we have arguments of this kind continuing. I’m glad you referred to William Stevenson Smith’s book; you could say that he was a member of the koine too, since he drew so beautifully and when he does this, he enters the Aegean world. And some of the people who copy Egyptian art — for example, the copies of Tutankhamun’s casket are just beautifully done by Nina de Garis Davies — I would think that she is an honorary member of the koine. J.L. Crowley: Yes, I do agree. I am very glad to have the comments transmitted from Helene Kantor through you to me; I find that delightful. If you are having this “International Style,” I think, as both Stevenson Smith and I have said, one of the reasons you say it is finally an “International Style” is because you cannot identify all the pieces. The others often give themselves away more — you can see that it is a Syrian piece and it has an intrusive element, but basically it is Syrian and you can identify it. For most of the pieces, they can be covered by this “International Repertoire.” An artist working mostly in his own national style will take something out, and that’s what gives them away, and you can identify them. But for this very small body of pieces, and I do stress that it is a very small body of pieces, we cannot as yet distinguish who is doing it, where, and for whom. It is such an amalgam, and the brilliant artist had welded it into a piece of art. But those are the only few pieces that I would call “International Style;” for the rest, it’s a koine, the “International Repertoire,” intrusive elements, or whatever.

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