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Ornament und Bedeutung. Zur Motivik mittelminoischer Feinkeramik

Clemens Schmidlin
Freiburg Dissertations in Aegean Archaeology


The subject of this study is middle-Minoan fine ware, also known as ‘Kamares’-ware. Earlier scholars were adapting typological and stylistic results for psychological explanations and therefore the meanings of motifs on vases from the point of view of the perceptions of the original artists and the users of their vessels have been misunderstood. The author presents a catalogue of motifs that can be established as ancient units of thought by means of various criteria. This panorama of motifs is introducedaccording to the nature of their use on vessels. These include examples of vessel-specific (connecting the surface of the vessel and the image space), representative, contextualizing, informational, imitative, syntactic, ‘accentualizing’, and general indicative characteristics. This catalogue of motifs leads to a better understanding of the differentiated forms of expression in Middle Minoan ornament. On the basis of this compilation of motifs quintessential new themes can be discussed (among them play, symbolism and symmetry) and thus contributing to an ‘ornamentic’ value of motif and vessel. The appendix offers an overview of motifs designated by the author and shows a selection of vessels central to the present argument.