Exploring the aesthetic of Red Polished figurative art: the beautifully made...made beautiful

Steel, Louise (2023) Exploring the aesthetic of Red Polished figurative art: the beautifully made...made beautiful. In: Prehistoric Lifeways in Cyprus from the Early Holocene to the Middle Bronze Age. SIMA Pocket book Astroms Forlag. (In Press)

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There is a rich body of three-dimensional art from Prehistoric Bronze Age Cyprus made in the Red Polished ware. This paper focuses on the Early Cypriot figured bowls from Bellapais Vounoi; it draws upon previous discussions of the materiality of the Red Polished corpus, and how these objects were entangled within human-object relations, with the aim to shed light on how human encounters with these objects created new social and material worlds in the Prehistoric Bronze Age. The primary focus is a consideration of the ancient aesthetic, questioning why modern scholarship has tended to move away from viewing ancient modelled worlds as ‘art’. In part this draws upon Gell’s notion of enchantment, which recognises that art objects are ‘beautifully made or made beautiful’ (Gell 1992: 43). It invites us to consider that rather than attempting to infer meaning from such material we should bear in mind Bloch’s cautionary tale of Malagasy carvings; these did not ‘mean’ anything, but simply ‘made the wood beautiful’ (Bloch 2005: 41). Are we reading too much into our interpretations – might the Red Polished figurative corpus simply represent beautiful objects made for pleasure, commissioned and enjoyed by an individual and buried with them as a favourite or valued possession?

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cyprus; art; Aesthetics; Red Polished pottery
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Louise Steel
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2023 11:22
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2023 11:40
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/2231

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