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0622 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 622 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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in the next lunette the portion above the eyes was effaced. Below, it displayed thick black locks, a bushy moustache, and a pointed curling beard. The dress was green, open at the neck where a broad reddish-brown scarf was laid over its edges, forming a triangle.

The following two lunette figures are seen in Fig. 143. Of the two amorini which flanked the first and as usual faced each other, the one on the left was depicted in a playful pose, holding his turned up left foot with his right hand. Both had the peculiar leaf-shaped lock over the shaven forehead. In the festoon-hollow between them there appeared a beautiful girl, looking to the left with a happy, smiling face. Over her rich black hair, gathered apparently in a bunch behind the neck, she wore a crown of white flowers set out with scarlet blossoms. Long curling love-locks descended before the ears, from which hung red ornaments. Over a richly-folded coat in buff was laid a greenish-grey mantle covering the left shoulder. The features of the youth whose head and bust filled the following lunette seemed reminiscent of the Near East. His curly black hair was cut straight over the low forehead, with narrow locks descending half-way down the ears. There was an indication of a thin growth of hair round the chin and jaws. The right hand (which in the photograph has suffered some disfigurement by erroneous ' touching up ' but is quite clear in a photograph taken in 1914) was raised in the pose of the ' Mora-player ' already described, with the second and fifth fingers stretched out and the rest turned inwards. His dress consisted of a green sleeveless vest over a flesh-coloured undergarment, of which the folds, drawn in a classical fashion, appeared over the right arm. Heavy folds were shown, too, on the pink upper garment of the festoon-carrying figure to the right, which wore a mauve Phrygian cap and a skirt of green.

The remaining figures of the dado towards the eastern end had all more or less suffered through the plaster surface having peeled off in places or lost its colouring. As besides, owing to photo-. graphic difficulties to be explained presently, I am unable to illustrate them, their description must be brief. The next lunette contained the graceful head of a girl with black hair hanging in loose tresses below the neck, and encircled on its crown by a crimson creeper. She wore a green undergarment with a cloak in light pink laid over both shoulders and parts of the breast. The fingers of the right hand emerged from beneath this cloak and clasped its edge, in the pose so familiar from classical sculptures draped in the toga. Beyond a Phrygian-capped festoon supporter with pink cap and green shirt facing his pendant there followed a bearded male head, almost completely broken. A conical cap in buff and a black scarf passed crosswise over shoulders and breast, as in Fig. 139, combined to suggest that the representation of a ' barbarian ' had been intended. Finally, between two amorini effaced almost beyond recognition, there appeared the broken remains of another male head with long black hair, imperial, and a pointed moustache twisted upwards. This figure, too, wore a broad scarf, here reddish brown, laid crosswise over the breast, and manifestly represented a ' barbarian ' type. The last lunette of all, where the festoon ended on the north side of the entrance, was filled, just as the one marking its commencement on the opposite side, with a large rosette in crimson similar to that there described.

The detailed examination of the dado now completed makes it easier for me to explain a point which forced itself upon my attention while I had these mural paintings actually before me, and continued to puzzle me for a long time after. It was the difference, unmistakable and yet difficult to define, between the artistic treatment of the composition in the frieze above and that of the figures in the dado. In the latter almost everything—the decorative scheme as a whole, the style of design, the technique of colouring with its illusionist use of chiaroscuro, the marked freedom with which each figure was treated—pointed strongly to the work of a painter who was mainly reproducing types fully developed by Orientalized Hellenistic art, and yet had sufficient familiarity with its spirit, and first-hand knowledge of its methods, to give an individual air to each of his portraits.

Amorini flanking girl's bust.

Figures in remaining lunettes.

Western art spirit in dado figures.