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them off so as to form various degrees of intensity, or to make any
attempt at contrasts of light and shade. This is probably true as to
the representation of human figures, which are coloured pretty much in
the same style that a child paints uncoloured engravings, making one
part all red, another all blue, and so on, without any softening of
the colours at their common boundary. But in the representation of
animals, as we shall afterwards observe, more care was taken in
softening and blenching the colours, so as to produce a better
representation of nature.

"The colours used in the painted relief, and on the stuccoes are
black, blue, red, green, and yellow; these are always kept distinct
and never blended. Of blue, they used both a darker and a lighter
shade. Red was used to represent the human flesh, apparently from its
being nearer the natural tint than any other simple colour; but many
of their colours were evidently applied with a conventional meaning,
for the representation of different races. The conquered people
represented in the great temple of Abonsambel, or Ipsambul, have
yellow bodies and black beards. In the grottoes of El Cab, the men are
red, and the women yellow. Black men also sometimes appear in the
paintings. The five colours above enumerated seldom occur all in one
piece or picture; but in this matter there is perhaps no general rule.
The Nubian temples have often a very rich colouring, as in the case of
one at Kalapsché, where yellow, green, red, and blue, have all been
used in painting the reliefs in one of the inner chambers; and in some
single figures in this temple we may observe all these four colours.

"The materials of which the colours were made would no doubt change
with the improvements in the arts; and after the Macedonian occupation
of the country, new colours, both vegetable and mineral, may have been
introduced. But the tombs of the kings at Thebes may undoubtedly be
considered as containing specimens of ancient Egyptian colouring, as
well as the painted reliefs in the oldest temples, and the colourings
about the ancient mummies. By a careful examination of these
specimens, we may attain a very adequate knowledge of the materials
used, and of the mode of applying them." The first of these frescoes
(169-170-1) are from the walls of a tomb of the western Hills of
Thebes. The tomb is that of a scribe of the royal granaries and
wardrobe, and the pictures represent the inspection of oxen by
scribes, a scribe standing in a boat, the registration of the
delivering of ducks and geese and their eggs. The fragment marked 175
represents an entertainment, with female instrumental performers; here
(176) an old man is leaning upon a staff near a cornfield; there (177)
is the square fish-pond woefully deficient in prospective; there is a
second entertainment (179), where the wine is freely circulating;
dancing is going on to music - the picture of a social evening enjoyed
thousands of years ago; and here, at a third entertainment (181),
servants are bringing in wine and necklaces - a kind of hospitality to
which, as regards the latter object, modern ladies would in no way
object. The ancient Egyptian ladies had their bouquets, their
ornaments, and their couches, and exacted a plainness of costume from
their servants, as in the present time. On passing south from the
Egyptian Saloon, between the two great lions, the visitor at once
gains the central saloon, but without pausing here, or turning to the
right into the tempting Phigalian and Elgin Saloons, he should proceed
rapidly on his way to the south-western extremity of the building, at
which point he will find himself at the entrance to the


In a few preliminary words we may indicate the points of Lycian
history. Situated in Asia Minor, Lycia is said to have taken its name
from the Athenian prince Lycus, who conquered it, and laid it open to
his countrymen. This Greek period of its history was interrupted by
Cyrus, who added it to the Persian empire about five centuries and a
half before our era; it was only regained about two centuries after by
Alexander the Great. It subsequently became a Roman province, then
yielded to the Byzantine empire, and now owns the rule of the Turk.
This eventful history gives an interest to the country that has
excited the curiosity of the learned for ages. The period of its
greatest prosperity ensued upon its being reconquered by Alexander,
when it included no less than seventy cities, of which Xanthus was the
capital. Of all these cities, only scattered ruins under Turkish
villages now remain. Of Lycian remains it may be said nothing was
known before Sir Charles Fellows started on his exploring expedition
in 1838. One or two travellers had made some scattered observations
with regard to the sites of ancient Lycian towns before that time, and
their hints first drew the attention of the learned in this direction;
but, we repeat, it cannot be said that anything was known of Lycian
remains before Sir Charles pressed the soil of Asia Minor, and looked
about for the sites of some of the seventy towns mentioned in ancient
history. He succeeding in fixing the sites of many of the cities,
including Xanthus, and on his return to England prevailed upon the
government to send out vessels to bring home the remains he saw
scattered about the rocky site of the ancient Lycian metropolis.
Messrs. Spratt and Forbes subsequently added eighteen sites of towns
to the list made by Sir Charles. The collection of sculpture now
popularly known as the Xanthian marbles, are a few ruins gleaned from
the rocky eminence which is the site of ancient Xanthus. These
fragmentary remains of an ancient people consist chiefly of sculptures
from their temples and their tombs; upon which, like the Egyptians,
they appear to have expended a vast amount of labour, and to have
employed their greatest artists. The Greek mind is clearly traceable
in these Xanthian marbles, - the Greek imbued with local traditions and
feelings. The first object that will attract the visitor's attention
on entering the room, is the most remarkable of


called the Harpy Tomb. This tomb, which occupied the highest point of
the hill on which Xanthus stood, is described by Sir Charles Fellows
in his account of the Xanthian marbles, published in 1843. The tomb
was a square shaft, in one solid block, weighing no less than eighty
tons. "Its height," says Sir Charles, "was seventeen feet, placed upon
a base, rising on one side six feet from the ground, on the other but
little above the present level of the earth. Around the sides of the
top of the shaft were ranged bas-reliefs in white marble, about three
feet three inches high; upon these rested a capstone, apparently a
series of stones, one projecting over the other; but these are cut in
one block, probably fifteen or twenty tons in weight. Within the top
of the shaft was hollowed out a chamber, which, with the bas-relief
sides, was seven feet six inches high, and seven feet square. This
singular chamber had probably been, in the early ages of Christianity,
the cell of an anchorite, perhaps a disciple of Simeon Stylites, whose
name was derived from his habitation, which, I believe, we have
generally translated as meaning a column, but which was more probably
a _stele_ like this. The traces of the religious paintings and
monograms of this holy man still remain upon the backs of the marble
of the bas-reliefs." By reference to the model of the tomb, of which
the bas-reliefs are in the room (1), the visitor may verify the
remarks of Sir Charles, who goes on to say that the monument was never
finished, having been only half polished, and that it bears the traces
of a shake from an earthquake. The general conjecture is that the tomb
is the labour of a Lycian Greek sculptor. The subjects of the
bas-reliefs have been variously interpreted: they decorated, as the
visitor will perceive by reference to the model, the four sides of a
square shaft. First, let the visitor turn to the western face, marked
(B). Here the scene represented is supposed to be Juno holding a cup
before the sacred cow Io, and Epaphus, Aphrodite, and the three
Charites, which have been interpreted also as the three Seasons, and
the Erinnyes or Furies. The eastern side marked (A), is supposed to
represent Tantalus, bringing the golden dog stolen from Crete to
Pandarus in Lycia: Neptune seated, with a man leaning on a crutch, and
a boy offering a bird before him, and Amymone and Amphitrite behind
him; and AEsculapius seated with Telesphorus in front, and two of the
Graces behind him. The northern side (C), shows at the corners, two
Harpies making off with two of the daughters of Pandarus, while their
sister Aedon, on her knees, is deploring their abduction. Here, too,
is a god seated, conjectured to be Pluto, holding a helmet with the
help of another figure, and having a wild animal under his chair. The
south side (D), discloses two Harpies bearing off the daughters of
Pandarus; and in the centre is a god, to whom a female figure is
offering a dove. By the side of these bas-reliefs, the visitor cannot
fail to remark the tomb of a Satrap of Lycia from Xanthus. From the
fact of horses being clearly traceable among the figures sculptured
upon this interesting relic, Sir Charles Fellows christened it the
Horse Tomb, and by this appellation it is popularly known. Its strange
shape, with its highly decorated roof and plain base, makes it an
object of curiosity to most visitors. It appears to be of the time of
the Persian dominion in Lycia, and was, as two inscriptions record,
erected by the satrap Paiafa. Upon the roof are groups of fighting
warriors, and at each side are figures in chariots and four. Sphinxes
occur in the lower sculptures, and on the north side below, is a mixed
combat of foot and horse soldiers; and the Satrap Paiafa himself,
attended by four figures, is here represented. The roof is drained by
water-spouts in the shape of lion's heads. The visitor, having now
examined the two most remarkable remains of Lycian tombs in the room,
should rapidly notice the fragments of sepulchres placed here and
there, but legibly numbered. First, let him remark (17-21), a frieze
conjectured to be from a tomb found inserted in the wall of the
Acropolis of Xanthus. Here he will find in bas-relief a procession
consisting of a horse and horseman, priest and priestesses with wands,
an armed female figure, and two chariots, with youthful charioteers
and old men. A triangular fragment of a tomb will next occupy his
attention (23); this has distinct vestiges of colour, and represents a
male and female figure separated by an Ionic column, surmounted by an
harpy, and other fragments in the immediate neighbourhood; (24-27)
have representations of the Sphinx, with a woman's head, wings, and
the body of a lion, as the daughter of the Chimaera, from the Xanthian
Acropolis. A curious relic is the _Soros_, discovered placed on the
top of one of the Xanthian pillar tombs. Here, amongst the
bas-reliefs, the visitor will notice a man stabbing an erect lion; a
lion playing with its young; and a figure on horseback followed by a
pedestrian; and on the next fragment (32), a lioness is again
represented fondling her progeny. The roof of a tomb (143), closely
resembling that which covers the Horse Tomb, is worth observing. It is
part of the tomb of an individual named Merewe, from Xanthus, and the
scenes represented include that of an entertainment, divinities, and
sphinxes, warlike encounters, and on the sides Bellerophon attacking
the Chimaera. Those casts marked (145-149), may next engage the
visitor's attention. They were taken from a tomb carved in solid rock
at Pinara, and include the frieze, upon which warriors are carved
leading captives, the walls representing a walled city, and the
Gorgons' heads which decorated the extremities of the dentals. The
three next casts that demand particular remark (150-152), were taken
from the decorations of a rock tomb at Cadyanda. To the learned these
groups are particularly interesting, because the figures are
accompanied with inscriptions in the Greek, as well as the pure Lycian
language. The first cast is that from the panel of the tomb door, upon
which Talas is represented standing: the second represents a group of
females; and the third an ancient entertainment with figures reclining
on couches with children; a figure playing the double flute, and to
the right a nude figure called Hecatomnas. Six casts from tombs
hereabouts (153-6), exhibit inscriptions, two of which are in two
languages - the Lycian and the Greek, declaring that the owners have
built the tombs for themselves and their relations; the second marked
156, in the Lycian language, expresses a threat that a fine will be
imposed on any person who may violate the tomb. Bellerophon, riding on
Pegasus, may be remarked launching his dart at the Chimaera, upon the
cast (158); nymphs are dancing upon the gable end marked (160); and
upon that marked (161), which is a cast from the gable end of a tomb
discovered at Xanthus, near the Chimaera tomb, two lions are
represented devouring a bull. The casts of the sculptures which
decorate an ancient rock tomb at Myra, are interesting. Here a young
man, attended by a boy, is offering a flower to a veiled woman,
attended by two women; in another part a boy attends with wine upon a
figure, conjectured to be that of Pluto, and a veiled female form,
supposed to be either Proserpine or Venus, is draped by an attendant,
in the vicinity of a nude youth. The remains of sarcophagi are marked
(168-171). The first of these are the relics of a Roman sarcophagus,
discovered in a mausoleum, containing three other sarcophagi, at
Xanthus. On the top have been reclining figures of a male and female,
and at the sides combats of warriors. The next relic is a fragment of
a sarcophagus, amongst the ornaments of which boys are shown at play;
and the third fragment discovers the lower part of the representation
of a hunt. An exceedingly explicit inscription is that marked (176,)
and found at Uslann, near the mouth of the Xanthus, which informs
modern generations that some two thousand years ago, Aurelius Jason,
son of Alaimis, and Chrysion, daughter of Eleutherus, purchased a tomb
for themselves, in the thirteenth month Artemisios, during the
priesthood of Callistratus, and dwelling upon this piece of
information, which is striking as a voice from the tomb of unknown
people speaking to us of the present century, not from any remarkable
deed achieved by Aurelius Jason, but simply because his name occurs
upon his tomb, plainly written in his own language. A strange
immortality! Having examined these relics of the ancient tombs of
Lycia, the visitor should take a general glance at


The time during which the Lycians may be said to have enjoyed their
highest civilisation dates from about five centuries before our era,
up to the period of the Byzantine empire. During this long interval,
most of the monuments of which this room contains some remarkable
specimens were conceived and executed. Of the sculpture, not
immediately illustrative of tombs, in the Lycian room, the most
interesting, undoubtedly, is that gleaned from the site of an ancient
building on the Acropolis of ancient Xanthus, by Sir Charles Fellows.
Passing a few fragments, including that marked (33), from Xanthus,
which represents the foreparts of two lions issuing from a square
block, the visitor should pass at once to the model of a Xanthian
Ionic peristyle building, surrounded by fourteen columns and
ornamented with statues, made under the direction of Sir Charles
Fellows, from the remains found on the site of the original building,
which lie about the room, and which the visitor is about to examine.
The original building was thirty-five feet in height, measuring from
the pediment to the base. Its object has been variously stated, but
cannot be said to be clearly and satisfactorily known. Of the
conjectures which have obtained certain credit, we may mention that
which described it as a trophy raised, in 476 B.C., to celebrate the
subjugation of Lycia by the Persians; and that which describes the
subject of the decorative sculptures as that of the suppression of the
revolt of the Cilicians by the Persian Satrap of Lycia. The remains of
this mysterious building are ranged in groups about the room; and the
visitor will observe indications of the flow of the lines, and the
artistic grace, which subsequently marked Grecian sculpture from every
other on the face of the earth. Here it is not impossible to recognise
the Greek mind: far below that of the decoration of the Parthenon, it
is true; but yet elegant and thoughtful. The groups of sculpture
marked (34-49) are the sculptures of the broader frieze which, it is
conjectured, surrounded the base of the building. Here are represented
a series of warlike encounters in which the Greek arms are
prominent - their helmets, crests, and Argolic bucklers; while other
soldiers are represented nearly nude, and in some instances wearing
the Asiatic pointed cap. This frieze undoubtedly represents the Greeks
at war with Asiatic tribes. The fragments of the narrow frieze which
bordered the upper part of the frieze are marked from 50 to 68. The
first four fragments represent the attack of a town, supposed to be
the Lycian town Xanthus. Here the besiegers may be observed scaling
the wall, and the officers cheering on the men. The five following
fragments represent various scenes of warfare between Greeks and
Asiatics. Then a walled city is represented, with the heads of a
besieged party looking over the ramparts; then a figure of a Satrap
occurs (62), supposed to be that of the Persian conqueror of Lycia,
Harpagus, who is screened with an umbrella held by a slave, which is
the emblem of his sovereignty, and is in the act of receiving a
deputation from the besieged city. The next two fragments represent a
sally from the besieged town; and upon the 67th fragment is some
carving supposed to illustrate the retreat of the besieged to their
city. The groups marked (69,70,74) are fragments of the capping-stones
of the east front of the base, and columns and fragments of columns
from the peristyle. Those groups, however, marked (75-84), which
consist of the statues originally placed in the intercolumniations of
the building, are figures of divinities, with various symbols at their
feet, as the dolphin, the halcyon, &c., and are meant to represent, by
the flow of the drapery, that they are flying through the air. They
have been variously interpreted, but never satisfactorily; some
authorities asserting that they were meant to celebrate the arrival of
Latona at Xanthus, and others that they symbolise the great naval
victory over Evagoras. Passing over one or two unimportant groups of
fragments, the visitor should next examine the remains of the narrow
frieze (95-109), upon which an entertainment is represented - the
guests, perfectly used to luxuries, reclining upon couches, and taking
wine to the strains of female musicians; also, a sacrifice of various
animals. Passing the coffers of the ceiling (106-109), the visitor
should next examine the remains of another narrow frieze, where a
Satrap is represented receiving presents; and bear and boar hunting
scenes occur. The fragment marked (125) is the eastern pediment,
sculptured in relief with various figures; and that marked (126) is
half of the western pediment sculptured with figures of six
foot-soldiers. The groups numbered (132-135) are fine specimens of
Lycian sculpture: on the first a draped female figure is shown in
rapid flight; and on the second, youths are shown bearing off women.
The group marked (138) is one of the samples of the roof-tiles with
which the building was covered in. Two crouching lions (139, 140),
supposed to have occupied intercolumnar space in the building, are the
last of the fragments. These fragments, however, together with Sir
Charles's interesting model, and the landscape (also in the room),
realise more vividly to the mind of the general spectator the ancient
Xanthus, than all the other detached and solitary fragments. Near the
two lions just mentioned are the paws of another lion, and a fragment,
found near the Harpy Tomb, of a crouching warrior and bull. Having
noticed these, the visitor may occupy himself for a few minutes with
the fragments of Byzantine architecture (177-183). These remains were
discovered amidst the ruins of a Christian village; and, it is
conjectured, were buried by an earthquake. These objects being
discussed, the visitor should repair to the glass case at the end of
the room, and examine some small curiosities from the Xanthian
Acropolis, which are placed therein. These consist chiefly of a
Parian-marble torso of a Venus; the left elbow of a female, and the
left side of a female head, in Parian marble, found built into the
walls of the Acropolis; leaden and iron cramps found in the oldest
sculptures of the Acropolis; four small lamps; vases; a cup; fragments
of glass vessels; fragment of a vase of the Byzantine period, stamped
with a cross; bronze vessels; lead grating for a drain pipe; a
fragment of a terra cotta amphora, inscribed, in the Doric dialect,
with the name of Hippocrates; fragments of painted cement from early
Christian buildings - all found in the excavations made for the ruins
of the building of which the model and fragments have lately been
noticed. Some sickles, a leaden weight, fragments of glass windows,
and terra cotta fragments, also included in the glass-case, were
discovered among the ruins of the houses, buried by the fall of the
great building. And in this case, also, are some curiosities from
Pinara, including fragments of human bones, tiles, and cement, all
amalgamated by a deposit of lime filtering through the rock of a tomb;
cement used to line a water cistern, and to block up the door of a
rock-tomb. With an examination of these relics, the visitor will close
his inspection of the Lycian remains, and proceed at once to the


Having examined the monumental remains of the Egyptians and the
ancient inhabitants of Persia, the visitor, in order to complete a
general impression of the sculptures of remote antiquity, should now
direct his attention to the remains recently discovered on the site of
ancient Nineveh and Nimroud. Most readers have read something of the
history of Assyria, of the effeminate Sardanapalus, of Semiramis, and
of the more fabulous Ninus. These three names are the three landmarks
of Assyrian history; and the long lapses of time which separate them
are shrouded in mystery, and up to late years have been filled up only
by fanciful histories but slenderly based on fact. Men have written
confidently on the fall of the Assyrian empire, and of its invasion by
the Medes; but the discrepancies of rival authorities, who differ as
much as ten centuries in their dates according to Mr. Layard, show how
insufficient were the materials upon which they pretended to found
histories. Where was the site of Babylon? where that of the renowned
Nineveh? These questions were often mooted by antiquaries. Mounds of
earth were long observed by travellers in Assyria and Babylonia; and
one of these, which was formed by a mass of ruined brickwork, was
heralded to the world as the remains of the tower of Babel! But the
ruins of the great Assyrian capital were for a long time unobserved.
For many years had travellers to modern Mosul looked with wondering
eyes at gigantic mounds of earth that lay opposite the city. The first
traveller who did more than take a cursory view of these mysterious
hillocks was Mr. Rich, who, on his way from Kurdistan to Baghdad in
1820, crossed the river, and arrived at the mounds; visited what the
inhabitants asserted to be Jonah's tomb on the summit of one of them;
saw inscribed relics in the houses of the adjacent village. Among the
fragments on the largest mound he picked up some bricks with
cuneiform[8] characters upon them, and fragments of pottery; and on a
subsequent occasion he found a small stone chair. He left these mounds
without suspecting that he had been treading above the palaces of the
ancient Assyrian monarchs - that he had been over ancient Nineveh. But
the ground was too fruitful in remote traditions to remain altogether
unexplored in this century. The lands watered by the Tigris and the
Euphrates, where the early Asiatic colonies of Scripture were founded,
and where Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, flourished and founded Babel,

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Online LibraryW. Blanchard JerroldHow to See the British Museum in Four Visits → online text (page 12 of 17)