On my latest travels I visited Utah and Arizona in the United States. Among other incidental excitements (like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Bryce Canyon - wow!), I saw some of the pottery made by the Kayenta and Navajo peoples about a thousand years ago. I was reminded of other pots I’ve seen from Ancient Greece.
Assuming you are as geeky as I am about such things, dear reader (Themis, my Boy with Two Heads, was a painter on terracotta as well as an athlete...), I thought you might be amused by a picture puzzle. Can you tell which of the pots in the pictures below are from what is now the USA, and which are from various periods in Ancient Greece and Etruria? I wouldn't have been sure of all of them if I hadn’t already known, so to speak. The explanations are below the last picture.
It's pleasing to know that human beings can make simple but elegant things whatever their culture.
Large bowl about 35cms diametre, Kayenta? black on white, c900AD. Tusayan Museum, Arizona (link 1)
Barrel-shaped jug, Cyprus, c1000BC, terracotta decorated in white and black. British Museum.
Jar in ‘white on red’ chequer pattern, Etruscan, made in Etruria about 700BC. British Museum.
Large vessel about 30cms diametre, Kayenta? black on red, c900AD. Tusayan Museum, Arizona (link 2 - youtube amateur video of a very hurried visit with almost no pots shown, but worth a quick look for the timeline at about 1min 30 seconds in)
Bowl or cup about 15cms diametre, Kayenta black on white, c900AD. Tusayan Museum, Arizona
Bowl or cup, Cyprus ?1300BC, sometimes called a ‘milk bowl’, terracotta coated in white ‘slip’ and decorated with dark brown. Art Institute of Chicago
Bowl or cup about 20cms diametre, Kayenta black on white, c900AD. Tusayan Museum, Arizona
Large pottery cup, Minoan c1500BC, from Gulf of Mirabello in northern Crete. British Museum
Pottery jug with dark on light decoration, Minoan c2000BC, found at Knossos in Crete. British Museum. (see this link for more sophisticated variant)
Vessel about 30cms diametre, Kayenta? black on red, Tusayan Museum, Arizona
Bowl, ?Cyprus ?800BC. British Museum
Large bowl about 35cms diametre, Kayenta? black on white, c900AD. Tusayan Museum, Arizona
photographs all © Julia M Newsome