Eastern Greek Architectural Decoration: Antefix

Inv. No.: 75.006
Provenance: East Greece (Phrygia)
Date: 525-500 BC
Height: 145mm
Width: 197mm
Depth: 34mm
 
An antefix of semi-circular shape with relief and painted decoration. The central low relief floral decoration is framed by a wide arch in higher relief on the outermost edge. The palmette is set within a smaller low relief semi-circular frame with a straight bottom edge. A battlement maeander pattern in low relief forms a border below this. This antefix probably comes from a sixth century building near Düver in southwestern Turkey. It shows the influence of Greek architectural practice; palmettes are commonly found on Archaic terracotta antefixes. The coarse clay is light orange in colour and the painted decoration is in black and red. The added colours are worn and there are some chips missing, especially around the edges.

Function:
The antefix is a decorative plaque, used to cover the outermost face of a end roof tile, along the eaves on Greek temples.

Manufacture:
A mould-made plaque.

Decoration:

  1. The edge of the outermost high relief arch is painted black and the arch is decorated with five painted, slightly wedge-shaped rectangles, each of which is framed by black lines. The top central wedge and the wedges at each end of the arch are black and the wedges at the sides are red.
  2. The low relief semi-circle framing the central palmette is painted red while the volutes of the palmette are black. The palmette has five leaves, alternatively red and black (the outermost and central leaves are red and the other two are black).
  3. The low relief battlement pattern is painted black. Beneath it is a low relief line, painted red.

Bibliography:
Cummer, W. W., "Phrygian Roof Tiles in the Burdur Museum", Anadolu, 14 (1970), 29-71. , Charles Ede Catalogue, 1975, 41 a.

Greek and Roman Terracotta Sculpture

Kanowski, M.G., The Antiquities Collection, catalogue, Department of Classics and Ancient History, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, 1978, 66.

Mayo, M. E., "Architectural Terra Cottas from Phrygia", Arts in Virginia, 21, No. 2 (1981), 29-35.

Mellink, M. J., "Archaeology in Asia Minor’, American Journal of Archaeology, 68 (1964), 159 and 69 (1965), 143.

Thomas, N., "Recent Acquisitions by Birmingham City Museum", Archaeological Reports for 1964-65 (1965), 64-70.

Winter, N. A., "Defining Regional Styles in Archaic Greek Architectural Terracottas", Hesperia, 59, No. 1 (1990), 13-32.

Winter, N. A. (ed.), "Proceedings of the First International Conference on Archaic Greek Architectural Terracottas, December 2-4, 1988", Hesperia, 59, No. 1 (1990), 1-323.

Comparanda:
Cummer, W. W., "Phrygian Roof Tiles in the Burdur Museum", Anadolu, 14 (1970), Plate IV, 1-4 (similar).

Mayo, M. E., "Architectural Terra Cottas from Phrygia", Arts in Virginia, 21, No. 2 (1981), Figs. 22 and 23 (23 is very similar).

Thomas, N., "Recent Acquisitions by Birmingham City Museum", Archaeological Reports for 1964-65 (1965), Figs. 8-14 (very similar, especially 9 and 12; note Fig. 8 which is an almost complete end tile with antefix).

Vlassopoulou, C., "Decorated Architectural Terracottas from the Athenian Acropolis; Catalogue of Exhibition", Hesperia, 59, No. 1 (1990), Nos. 8, 19, 32, 38, 39, 46, 47, 55, 59, 60 and Plate A, 19 and 39 (Athenian palmette antefixes).

Winter, N. A. (ed.), "Proceedings of the First International Conference on Archaic Greek Architectural Terracottas, December 2-4, 1988", Hesperia, 59, No. 1 (1990), Plates 1c, 5-8, 14, 20d (palmette antefixes from various Greek sites).