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0621 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 621 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Sec. vii]   THE PAINTED DADO OF CELLA M. v   527

pink hung from the ears, and bracelets of the same colour clasped the wrists. A close-fitting garment in a deep red brown, crossed in front and provided with sleeves, covered breast and shoulders, leaving the neck free. From the head-dress hung a veil of delicate pale green descending over the left shoulder and across the left side of the breast.

The amorino on the right (Fig. 140) carried the festoon in a debonair fashion with his right hand placed on the hip, which a green wrap covered. His chubby face was thoroughly Western and excellently painted. He seemed intent on turning his gaze towards the fair lady, his neighbour. My eyes, too, felt the spell of this fascinating apparition of beauty and grace, set off as it was by the desolation of the ruin and the desert around. But it was quite as strange to find this fair portrait balanced on the opposite side by that of a male head of a type distinctly Western, with a suggestion of Roman (Fig. 140). It was the head of a young man, short and square, with a broad low forehead, flat skull, and square jaws. The details of the features can still be clearly made out in the piece of the actual wall-painting (M. v. vi, Plate XLIV) which I managed to bring away, though in a badly broken condition, as will be explained below. The large and straight-set eyes were surmounted by well-arched brows. The strongly-built face was clean-shaven, the close-cropped black hair coming down a short way in front of each ear. The treatment of the flesh with ` light and shade' was the same as in the heads of the M. in dado. The colours of the dress, consisting of a dark red coat or toga and a pale green cloak thrown over it across the right shoulder, had badly faded. The right arm was raised across the breast, and in the original fresco I could clearly make out the peculiar pose of the hand, no longer recognizable in the photograph, which suggested a player at the classical game of Mora, with the second and fifth fingers outstretched and the two between turned downwards.

Beyond this portrait the painted surface of the wall, though it still rose to the height of the dado for a distance sufficient to accommodate three lunettes, was too badly effaced by the fallen brick débris to retain any remains of the figures. But close where the breach in the western wall began, some scanty traces of a girl's portrait once filling a festoon hollow survived, and to the right of them the figure of a Phrygian-capped youth supporting the wreath (M. v. x, Plate XLIV). The figure was badly broken across the neck and lower down when still on the wall, and the portion I managed to remove, experimentally as it were, has, owing to the very brittle condition of the plaster, necessarily suffered still more. Yet even thus it is possible to realize the beauty of the delicate-featured face, with its graceful oval outline and widely-opened vivacious eyes, and the clever shading of the flesh tints. Underneath the cap of whitish buff is seen a narrow fringe of black hair, and traces of a red garment survive. The right hand with shapely fingers raises a brown-rimmed bowl against the breast, as if in the act of drinking. Of the portrait which followed nothing remained but the barely recognizable outlines of a male figure holding a patera with the right hand. Beyond this the wall had been completely destroyed.

Where the wall of the circular passage reappeared at the left end of the northern arc, the

surface plaster was found to have suffered badly. Consequently, of the first figure met there—it filled the ninth lunette counting from the right or eastern entrance end of this arc—it could only be ascertained that it was a male one, bearded and with flowing hair, dressed in a black vest with a green upper garment. Next came a figure, with a remarkably well-drawn head, carrying the festoon and wearing a Phrygian cap and green dress. The hollow between this and another young

Mithras' putto, which was in poor preservation, held a girl's head and bust. Though badly effaced in most places, it still showed large lustrous eyes looking straight ahead and rich tresses hanging down the shapely well-drawn neck. A reddish-brown vest with a black stole formed the dress. The right hand seemed to hold the end of a three-stringed musical instrument. Of the male head

Male head of Western type.

Last lunette of S. hemicycle.

Figures in north arc lunettes.