Ancient World News!

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1966.177 Are you planning a visit World Museum during the half-term break? You mustn’t miss our new case in the Ancient World Gallery on Level 3, with objects which have never been on display before. Caring for our collections is one of our on-going jobs, and I am very grateful to Steve, our metals conservator, and Jan, our ceramics conservator, for their help in getting these objects on display. The most spectacular is a magnificent Greek helmet which is about 2,500 years old. This type of helmet is described as ‘Corinthian’, named after the Greek city. As you can see, it protected the whole of the face and neck. I am fascinated by the Etruscans, the people who lived in central Italy before the Romans. 1981.1112.88 They had their own type of pottery, today called ‘bucchero’, which is a black ware, made shiny by burnishing (polishing). The burial tray, called ‘focolare’ in Italian, was a model of a brazier and would originally have contained small bowls and tools; all that would be needed for a meal in the afterlife. You can see three tools – a spoon, ladle and spatula – displayed next to the brazier. Finally, we have a large pot called an ‘amphora’, made in Athens at the end of the 6th century BC and decorated in the style called ‘black-figure’ by art historians. The scene you can see on display is set outside the gates of the city of Troy, before the fighting started in the Trojan War. The two men are the Greek heroes, Ajax and Achilles, whiling away the time by playing a game of dice, watched by the goddess Athena. I think that the really interesting thing is that this episode doesn’t feature in Homer’s epic ‘The Iliad’, which tells the story of the Trojan War. The scene was apparently invented by Exekias, considered to be the greatest painter and potter of Greek vases, and was copied by the painter of our amphora. 1977.114.15 Do try to come and see our new display in the Ancient World Gallery!