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African Red Slip

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African Red Slip


African red slip ware (ARS or African Red Slip) is a category of terra sigillata, or "fine" Ancient Roman pottery produced in the province of Africa Proconsularis, specifically that part roughly coinciding with the modern country of Tunisia and the Diocletianic provinces of Byzacena and Zeugitana. It is distinguished by a thick-orange red slip over a slightly granular fabric. Interior surfaces are completely covered, while the exterior can be only partially slipped, particularly on later examples.

African red slip was produced from the mid-1st century CE into the 7th century. By the 3rd century CE, it appears on sites throughout the Mediterranean and in the major cities of Roman Europe. It was the most widely distributed representative of the sigillata tradition in the late-Roman period, and occasional imports have been found as far afield as Britain in the 5th-6th centuries.[1] African red slip ware was still widely distributed in the 5th century but after that time the volume of production and trade may well have declined. While the latest forms continued into the 7th century and are found in such major cities as Constantinople and Marseille, the breakup of commercial contacts that typified the later 7th century coincides with the final decline of the African red slip industry.

The production and success of African red slip is probably closely tied to the agricultural productivity of Rome's North African provinces, as indicated in part by the contemporaneous distribution of Roman-period North African amphoras.

Vessel forms

From about the 4th century, competent copies of the fabric and forms were also made in several other regions, including Asia Minor, the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt. Over the long period of production, there was obviously much change and evolution in both forms and fabrics. Both Italian and Gaulish plain forms influenced ARS in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE (for example, Hayes Form 2, the cup or dish with an outcurved rim decorated with barbotine leaves, is a direct copy of the samian forms Dr.35 and 36, made in South and Central Gaul),[2] but over time a distinctive ARS repertoire developed.

There was a wide range of dishes and bowls, many with rouletted or stamped decoration, and closed forms such as tall ovoid flagons with appliqué ornament (Hayes Form 171). The ambitious large rectangular dishes with relief decoration in the centre and on the wide rims (Hayes Form 56), were clearly inspired by decorated silver platters of the 4th century, which were made in rectangular and polygonal shapes as well as in the traditional circular form.

Surface decoration

A wide range of bowls, dishes and flagons were made in ARS, but the technique of making entire relief-decorated vessels in moulds was discontinued.[3] Instead, appliqué motifs were frequently used where decoration in relief was required, separately made and applied to the vessel before drying and firing. Stamped motifs were also a favoured form of decoration, and decorative motifs reflected not only the Graeco-Roman traditions of the Mediterranean, but eventually the rise of Christianity as well: there is a great variety of monogram crosses and plain crosses amongst the stamps in the later centuries. Similar forms and fabrics were made for more local distribution in Egypt, which had its own very active and diverse ceramic traditions in the Roman period.

Surface decoration of ARS is relatively simple during the first three centuries of production, with occasional rouletting, barbotine motifs and some appliqué being typical. In the 4th century applied decoration becomes common. By the 5th century stamped central motifs such as animals, crosses and humans are common on larger plates. Paralleling developments in other visual media, gladatorial scenes and references to pagan mythology come to be replaced by Christian figures. In the last phase of production, surface treatment consists of light spiral burnishing on some plates and rouletting around the floor of certain bowls.

Main typologies

In 1972 John Hayes published a type series running from form 1 to 200, with forms 112-120 remaining unused.[4] A supplement appeared in 1980.[5] In addition to other previous work, Hayes made use of Waage's work in both Antioch and the Athenian Agora, as well as Lamboglia's in Ventimiglia. Michael Fulford's publication of the British excavations at Avenue du Président Habib Bourguiba, Salammbo in Carthage expanded on the work of Hayes.[6] Carandini's typology, published in Enciclopedia dell'arte antica classica e orientale, is also important.[7] Michael Mackensen offers an alternate typology for later forms based on his work in northern Tunisia.[8] Michel Bonifay has also collected previous scholarship alongside his own observations.[9]

Some major ARS centres in central Tunisia are Sidi Marzouk Tounsi, Henchir el-Guellal (Djilma), and Henchir es-Srira, all of which have ARS lamp artifacts attributed to them by the microscopic chemical makeup of the clay fabric as well as macroscopic style prevalent in that region.

Table of Common Forms[10]

Form Start Date End Date
Hayes form 1 50 80
Hayes form 2 50 100
Hayes form 3 60 200
Hayes form 3a 60 90
Hayes form 3b 75 150
Hayes form 3c 100 200
Hayes form 4 75 175
Hayes form 4a 75 125
Hayes form 4b 125 175
Hayes form 5 60 150
Hayes form 5a 60 100
Hayes form 5b 60 100
Hayes form 5c 60 150
Hayes form 6 100 200
Hayes form 6 100 200
Hayes form 6b 100 200
Hayes form 6c 100 200
Hayes form 7 Bowl 70 150
Hayes form 7a Bowl 60 125
Hayes form 7b Bowl 100 200
Hayes form 8 75 200
Hayes form 8a 75 160
Hayes form 8b 150 200
Hayes form 9 100 200
Hayes form 9a 100 160
Hayes form 9b 150 200
Hayes form 10 100 200
Hayes form 10a 100 150
Hayes form 10b 150 200
Hayes form 11 100 200
Hayes form 12/102 475 500
Hayes form 13 100 150
Hayes form 14 125 200
Hayes form 14a 125 175
Hayes form 14b 150 200
Hayes form 15 150 200
Hayes form 16 150 200
Hayes form 17 150 200
Hayes form 18 200 225
Hayes form 19 75 125
Hayes form 20 75 125
Hayes form 21 100 150
Hayes form 22 100 150
Hayes form 23 Casserole 70 220
Hayes form 23a Casserole 70 150
Hayes form 23b Casserole 150 220
Hayes form 24 Dish 175 225
Hayes form 25 Rectangular Dish 100 200
Hayes form 26 Flat Dish 150 225
Hayes form 27 Dish 160 220
Hayes form 28 Dish 200 225
Hayes form 29 Dish 200 220
Hayes form 30 Dish 200 250
Hayes form 31 Dish 200 250
Hayes form 32 210 300
Hayes form 32/58 280 420
Hayes form 33 200 250
Hayes form 44 Small Bowl 220 300
Hayes form 45 Large Bowl 200 300
Hayes form 45a Large Bowl 230 320
Hayes form 46 Large Bowl 275 325
Hayes form 48 Plate 220 320
Hayes form 50 Large Dish 230 300
Hayes form 50a Large Dish 230 300
Hayes form 50b Large Dish 250 350
Hayes form 52 Small Bowl 300 400
Hayes form 52b Small Bowl 280 400
Hayes form 53 320 430
Hayes form 54 Dish 350 400
Hayes form 57 350 450
Hayes form 56 Dish 360 430
Hayes form 57 325 400
Hayes form 58 290 550
Hayes form 58a 290 375
Hayes form 58b 290 375
Hayes form 59 320 420
Hayes form 59a 320 450
Hayes form 59b 320 420
Hayes form 61b 325 475
Hayes form 61a 325 400
Hayes form 61b 380 475
Hayes form 62 350 425
Hayes form 63 360 440
Hayes form 64 380 450
Hayes form 67 360 470
Hayes form 68 350 425
Hayes form 71 370 450
Hayes form 72 400 430
Hayes form 73 400 450
Hayes form 74 400 450
Hayes form 76 400 475
Hayes form 76a 425 475
Hayes form 76b 400 450
Hayes form 78 360 440
Hayes form 79 400 500
Hayes form 80b 500 550
Hayes form 80b/99 450 500
Hayes form 81 400 500
Hayes form 81a 400 500
Hayes form 81b 400 500
Hayes form 82 430 500
Hayes form 82a 430 475
Hayes form 82b 460 500
Hayes form 83 420 460
Hayes form 84 440 500
Hayes form 85 450 500
Hayes form 85a 450 450
Hayes form 85b 450 500
Hayes form 86 475 525
Hayes form 87 450 550
Hayes form 87a 450 500
Hayes form 87b 475 530
Hayes form 87c 480 550
Hayes form 88 500 550
Hayes form 89 450 520
Hayes form 90 550 620
Hayes form 90b 500 550
Hayes form 91 350 450
Hayes form 91a 370 500
Hayes form 91a/b 370 500
Hayes form 91b 370 500
Hayes form 91b/c 500 530
Hayes form 91c 500 600
Hayes form 91d 580 675
Hayes form 92 400 540
Hayes form 93 470 540
Hayes form 93a 470 500
Hayes form 93b 500 540
Hayes form 94 400 550
Hayes form 96 500 550
Hayes form 97 475 600
Hayes form 98 500 580
Hayes form 99 500 580
Hayes form 99a 500 540
Hayes form 99b 530 580
Hayes form 99c 560 620
Hayes form 100 580 620
Hayes form 101 550 600
Hayes form 102 475 625
Hayes form 103 500 575
Hayes form 103a 500 575
Hayes form 103b 500 575
Hayes form 104 500 625
Hayes form 104a 500 580
Hayes form 104b 570 600
Hayes form 104c 550 625
Hayes form 105 580 675
Hayes form 106 600 675
Hayes form 107 580 675
Hayes form 108 600 630
Hayes form 109 580 675
Hayes form 109 580 650
Hayes form 109 610 675
Hayes form 182 150 250
Hayes form 195 70 250
Hayes form 196 70 250
Hayes form 197 175

Notes

References

  • Hayes, John. (1972). Late Roman Pottery. London: British School at Rome (hardcover, ISBN 0-904152-00-6)
  • Hayes, John. (1980). "Supplement to Late Roman Pottery". London: British School at Rome. Worldcat
  • Mackensen, Michael (1993). Die spätantiken Sigillata- und Lampentöpfereien von el Mahrine (Nordtunesien): Studien zur nordafrikanischen Feinkeramik des 4. bis 7. Jahrhunderts. Munich : Beck (hardcover, ISBN 978-3-406-37015-1)
  • Tyers, Paul (1996). Roman Pottery in Britain, London: B. T. Batsford ISBN 0-7134-7412-2

External links

  • 'North African Red-Slipped Ware' from Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery
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