History of Sicily
1 Prehistoric Sicily
1.3.3: Art in the Neolithic

Bird Goddess

Like religion, Neolithic art also evolved significantly. Tools with anthropomorphic drawings and additions were found, to testify that the functional aspect is also added to the aesthetic one.

The furniture art is greatly enriched by the so-called "idoletti", anthropomorphic statuettes often linked to female cults. The female idol found in Wind Plan (Agrigento) consists of a female body in the shape of a violin, long neck and bird's head, present a series of incisions that give the idea of ​​plumage. Another idol in green stone (Jadeite) with a bird's head was found in the cave of the Stufe di S. Calogero (Sciacca - Agrigento).

goddessucellosancaloggero015Idoletto with bird mask head Half of the XNUMXth millennium BC - Grotta delle Stufe di S. Caloggero (Agrigento) 8

idolettibusoni016bis

Fusiform bowl of Busonè (AG) 10

Two spindle-shaped pebbles found in 1968 a Busoné (Agrigento) have lines engraved in such a way as to very effectively represent two female bodies. Two other pebbles probably linked to female cults, were found Near Acate in the Pirrone district [1]

goddessuccellopianovento012

Idol in the shape of a bird XNUMXth millennium BC - Piano Vento (Agrigento) 9

But the female idols cited are not the only example of furniture art, even domestic animals, as it is natural that in an agro-pastoral society they are objects to be modeled by Neolithic artists, such as the bovid figurine found in Burello (Biancavilla - Catania).

bovid017

Bovide - Burello (Biancavilla - Catania).

The testimony of an aesthetic taste related to the person is given by the discovery of objects used to adorn the body. In Grotta dell'Uzzo A rich repertoire of ornamental objects has been found: pendants made up of polished and perforated teeth of deer and goat's tooth, elements of necklaces made up of shells, shell pendants decorated with parallel notches. A Strait (Partanna - Palermo), in addition to shell bracelets, shark tooth pendants have even been found.

 The art of the Neolithic is enriched with new materials such as ceramics.

vase_ceramic_eolie
Trichrome ceramic vase from the Aeolian Islands (XNUMXth millennium BC)

In Sicily, as in the rest of the Mediterranean regions, we talk about the culture of imprinted ceramics. The name derives from the way in which the ceramic is worked. In fact, the decoration took place by impressing the still soft surface before firing. Sharp objects, or shells, and sometimes even fingertips were used for decoration. The result was, at least in the early stages of this culture, a rather crude decoration, apparently without a real organization of the design, the decorations were very simple, sometimes forming a zigzag pattern, or oblique lines, or simply some small lines or dots scattered here and there in the wall of the vase.

It is believed that the culture of imprinted ceramics originated in Asia Minor and Syria and that migratory currents then brought it to southern Italy and Sicily [2].

In Sicily the most ancient examples of the culture of impressed ceramics are found in Kronio cave near Sciacca and in the Grotta dell'Uzzo (VI millennium BC)

Subsequently, a less rough type of culture of imprinted ceramics appears Culture of Stentinello from the name of the village near Syracuse where it was first identified. In this phase (XNUMXth millennium BC) the pottery presents richer and more elaborate decorations. The culture of Stentinello has also been identified in the Aeolian Islands, the Megara Ibleae in the Ragusa area (Mount Tabuto [3] and Contrada Pirrone [4]).

pen-stentinelloStentinello ceramic

The quality of the ceramic processing also evolves in the use of colors, in fact the trichrome ceramic with motifs painted in red and bordered in black appears. A nice example of trichrome ceramic was found Megara Hyblaea (Syracuse), a bowl, as they say in these cases, finely worked, with red painted decorations bordered in black and with flame-shaped motifs, for workmanship and decoration the find is considered an exception compared to the ceramics of the period in question [5].

In some cases, the ceramics are decorated with human faces modeled in relief, this is the case of the rim fragment with a human face found near centuripe (Enna) where the nose is modeled in relief and the eyes and mouth are obtained with the recess method. The technique of modeling human figures must have been widespread in Europe, the same technique used to model the human face of the Centuripe fragment can be found in the neck of a terracotta vessel decorated with a modeled human face found in Stuttgart - Bad Cannstatt, Germany [6 ].

book87_pag60Terracotta vessel - Stuttgart - Bad Cannstatt, Germany

The final Neolithic is instead characterized by a type of culture called Diana which takes its name from a town found on the island of Lipari in the Diana district.

 

[1] Giovanni Di Stefano: Small Guide to the Prehistoric Stations of the Iblei pag. 154

[2] Moses Finley: History of ancient Sicily pag. 14. L. Bernabò Brea: Sicily before the Greeks pag. 38

[3] (37.19) (86.36).

[4] Giovanni Modica Scala: Pages of Stone pag. 61

[5] The style of the painting is called di Capri, but also a Bande or Fiamma and was quite common in southern Italy.

[6] Walter Torbruegge: Early European art. Prehistory and protohistory. Page 60.

[7] Giovanni Di Stefano: Small Guide to the Prehistoric Stations of the Iblei pag. 60-147-154.

[8] First Sicily - at the origins of Sicilian society - by Sebastiano Tusa - 1997 Sicilian Region Vol. II Fig. II.7

[9] First Sicily - at the origins of Sicilian society - by Sebastiano Tusa - 1997 Sicilian Region Vol. II Fig. III.6

[10] First Sicily - at the origins of Sicilian society - by Sebastiano Tusa - 1997 Sicilian Region Vol. II Fig. III.13

History of Sicily by Ignazio Caloggero

vase_ceramic_eolie
Trichrome ceramic vase from the Aeolian Islands (XNUMXth millennium BC)

Share / Share
Share

Facebook Comments

Share This Post
Have your say!
00
Share