The External Stamped Ornament on the Attic Black-Glazed Pottery from Olbia
Stamped and incised ornaments belong to the most common methods of ornamentation of black-glazed pottery. These ornamentation methods were used from the middle of the 5th century BC until the Hellenistic period, the technique spread from Athens to Italy. Pottery could be decorated by stamps both inside and outside.
The technique of covering with ornaments is quite simple – a limited set of tools was used – a cutter, a ruler, compasses and a stamp with a relief ornament on it. The ornament was made with special stamps on the surface of not yet dried up clay.
The craftsman did the stamps not simultaneously, but gradually pressing, according to the turning of the vessel in a circle, after that the pottery was fired and covered with black lacquer.
External stamps are less common than internal ones. Perhaps this is because of the fact that it is difficult to apply a stamp on the outside, taking into account the thin walls of the pottery.
Talking about external stamps it is possible to follow some trends: using a much smaller number of combinations; absence of plant ornaments, incisions; using of unique elements – «diamonds», unusual meanders. The most common elements were ovules and palmettes.
The ornaments fill the central part of the body of the pottery, sometimes completely covering the free space.
Typical for external stamps is the mirroring of elements, the use of lines separating the space into several zones.
Analysis of the black-glazed pottery from Olbia has shown that only a few percent of stamped pottery had external stamps. However, the material represents all the changes in morphology and ornamentation that are typical of classical items. This again proves the close and systematic trading links of Olbia polis with Athens and its outskirts during the classical period. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized once again that there were certain differences in the stamps since most of the images were really unique – a craftsman selected drawings very carefully and although the black-glazed pottery is considered being a mass category of ware, a hundred-per-cent analogy is a rarity.
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