Outside classical antiquity : mystery and vitality in native apulian pottery


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In ancient Apulia (Puglia in Italian), the Iapygians, the indigenous people who lived on the fringes of the Greek cities, produced a rich pottery that stood apart from that of the colonists. Still relatively little studied and almost unknown outside a narrow circle of specialists, this pottery is astonishingly original. It is characterized by specifi c forms of enigmatic purpose - horned handles, zoomorphic heads with hallucinatory stares, solitary hands, spindly fi gures and polychromy - which plunge us into an unknown world, without savagery, yet very close to nature. Intended to accompany the dead in their tombs, the vases and figurines express a surprising vitality that testifies to a faith in the afterlife. Although rigorous from an archaeological point of view, this book calls for a preface highlighting the unexpected modernity of this ancient art. The task was undertaken by a member of Picasso's inner circle. The works presented here form part of a private collection, undoubtedly