Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Ostraca are pieces of broken pottery used to etch messages in ancient Greece and to practice art in ancient Egypt. They are flat hard surfaces that artists used for practice to work out forms and compositions. Many examples exist of artists practicing such things as working out the shape of an owls head, the unique features of particular individuals seen repeatedly, exercising and trying out freedom with musicians and gymnastics in configurations seen in use repeatedly, nursemaids, animals and the like that are not subject to cannon of configuration and proportion, along with random examples of political satire and pornography.

[ostricon] will give Greek examples and the most famous Egyptian.

No matter what search is used the ostracon of a female gymnast bending backward is seen fifteen times for every one time the lady musician is shown. And when the lady musician is shown, usually as "musician with a lute," she is also displayed wrongly standing rather than supine.

It's a piece of broken trash pottery used for practice that is so famous it has a name. It's fractured, important sections missing and yet it shows skill surprisingly deft and not usually seen.

It's inappropriate for G-rated site.

A lot of freedom is taken with canon on this ostracon. Women are usually not shown torso forward, Males are torso straight on with side view of face and legs, very Picasso both at once like that, however women, noble women are shown side torso, the profile of one breast. Not so much for modesty, they would show one breast openly, but a side view of one breast, different from males and that is cannon so this is very different right off and that's one reason why people like this broken piece of pottery so much.

The whole time I misunderstood this fragment. When I realized what it really is I was stunned. It matches quite closely one I did on my own without basing it on anything. I did take photos of the two pieces hanging in a condominium high-rise but that was my first digital camera, internet just starting, those files are lost forever. So is the camera. The two pieces of art are still hanging there, still available to be photographed, but I no longer feel like talking to the owners. Progressives. Obnoxious. They made a program out of converting me and the only way to stop it was cease contact altogether and the totality of my resistance finally sank in and I am no longer bothered. The picture is not that complex but it's large and it took me a long time to work out. It is a woman leaning on her elbow, her supporting arm idle other than that, and holding an ankh in the other and just looking at it. It's titled "contemplating life." It hangs next to a carving of a man moving cattle through a canal. The water is carved all zig-zaggy while the legs of the men and cattle are painted faintly as if seen through water. They're both very cool. The first thing you see when you enter, then turn into the apartment and never see them again until you leave.  But they leave a lasting impression on everybody who enters.

Should you choose to look you will see samples of this pottery shard displayed upright.
[ostracon musician] First image displayed, and displayed wrongly. She has a guitar-looking thing, a lute, for lack of a better analogy. There is no instance where such an instrument will be held this way.

The insight was provided by a book. This photo is from a book. The description says the musician is holding her hand cupped behind her ear listening for other musicians, an aspect seen frequently in New Kingdom tombs.

I did not know that.

I've looked high and low and do not see them. They are not in my books. They are not on the internet. I have no idea what they're talking about. This is the single instance I know about and it is brilliant. When I saw the line for the chin, one tiny portion of line for the bottom of the chin, then I went, "OH BLOODY WOW!" Silently inside. It blew my mind because it is so contemporary, so timeless, so beautiful and natural to put her hand to her ear like, "what?" only listening carefully for her fellow musicians. And not on the top of her head as I thought all along. The artist must have seen this behavior and copied it. It's quite incredible. I do wish I could find more examples of this, the author did say it is common. It makes me feel inadequate for not ever seeing any. Except this one example. Again, you see the same musicians all over the place, I've painted them myself, but you never see this.

Originally I thought hand on top of head, very Matisse-like, look and see what I mean, all his nudes are similar with a hand flopped on the head, most unEgyptian, for years I thought that. But no, it is hand behind her ear, very Egyptian and touching besides, and that changes everything.

When I realized what we have here I was thrilled. When I wanted to do one myself and do it differently than usual I came very close to another who did something very similar long ago by fudging canon while adhering to style and proportion. He worked out very similar to what I worked out.


William said...

Can you imagine using a crude outline of a woman etched on a broken piece of pottery for pornography purposes? And people say progress is illusory.

Chip Ahoy said...

I think they were just being funny. Did you see them? They're unworthy porn, more like, "my boss takes it up the butt" type of porn.

The political satire is usually reversing the natural roles of animals, the animals representing people and positions within society. So, a cat leading a bunch of ducks along with a stick. Lions being abused by prey animals.