|Athens, NAM. Lidded Geometric oinochoe from the Tapestry Workshop|
Corinth did have equal design discipline:
Though it would be the first city to export both to its colonies and elsewhere, Corinthian geometric, however fine, is not abundant, nor, at home, does it cater to funerary use in the same way as at Athens. Fine Corinthian burials are in stone sarcophagi or box-like pits. Still, a krater like this one could be used not only as a punchbowl but as an ash urn in which smaller offerings would be included; it's about a half meter in diameter at the base of the handles.
|Corinth Museum. The pale clay is typical of the fabric, and in this period'|
the very neat and reasoned placement of simple motifs is remarkable.
|Argos Museum. Geometric krater, of similar capacity to the Corinthian one.|
But in mid-8th century it is dark and likelier to have hatched maeanders than a Corinthian one.
|Argos Museum. End of Geometric and, chronologically, possibly as late as|
Attic and Corinthian work datable ca. 680 BCE. (see p. 72 in Boardman's book)
E. Gabrici at Cumae.
Especially since it was published promptly and fully, and our sources place the foundation of Cumae fairly securely in the middle of the 8th century, Gabrici's finds from the early cemetery may be placed before 700 BCE, and they are already Early Protocorinthian. That is, not only are they decorated with plant forms and rosettes (instead of broken bits of the DNA, so to speak, of Late Geometric), but all of the larger and some of the smaller vases (see Boardman, p. 81 as well as the plates from Gabrici, below) have details drawn with a sharp point through the glaze-paint in the leather hard (still damp) clay. That point could be sharpened metal or bone or, on tiny perfume bottles, a cactus needle mounted in bone. Humfry Payne was doubtless right, that it was inspired by near eastern metal work, perhaps also by engraved detail in ivory. For more than a century, we have found it convenient to define 'black figure' technique to include the use of incision for details. Cumae (my first ever Link to Facebook!) is near Naples, and all the pottery found by Gabrici is there.
|It was because the Greek colony was founded from Chalcis in Euboea|
that Gabrici labeled the plates "Chalcidian".
But the pitcher, the oinochoe, just over a foot tall, is a Greek shape, and it still has sub-Geometric patterns on the neck. And its artist has created glorious buds in four directions on the body, not copied but most certainly orientalizing, and their details are incised with a sharp point. Free plant forms, yet disciplined to make design sense on the body of the oinochoe.
True, all of this is Early Archaic, but some Early Archaic is not inebriated with Near Eastern art. It is a fashion, yes, but one that permanently altered the severity of the earliest post-Mycenaean art. The Egyptian component is still to come, but it won't affect vase-painting very much. Orientalizing brought the alphabet, some fancy metalwork (doubtless too some fancy weaving), and all those palmettes and lotuses everywhere.
It is at this point that Protocorinthian, produced for export as well as regional use, became more sophisticated than Protoattic:
|Corinth Museum. One of the very first trefoil-mouthed Broad-bottomed Oinochoai.|
As for the first post, above, Boardman's Early Greek Vase Painting.
I cannot resist adding, in case anyone can find it in an older library, Arthur E. Lane, Greek Pottery, Faber and Faber, 1947. My own copy is falling apart, since, until the Boardman book became available, it was what one studied from, my students after me. It is not worth buying a collectable copy, unless you are trying to get every single book on ceramics, but if you can find a tattered one, don't despise it, buy it.