Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Treasury of Ornament 1

Treasury of Ornament001

Egyptian Painting and Plastic Art

Relief figures, paintings and borders from a sarcophagus and temple columns

Treasury of Ornament002

Egyptian Architecture and Painting

Capitals (sylised palms and papyrus), cornice and paintings from pylon, entablature, Luxor and Thebes temples, tomb chambers and mummy case

Treasury of Ornament003

Assyrian Painting Polychrome Sculpture Pottery

Details from bas-reliefs, glazed and enamelled bricks and painted ornament found at Khorsabad, Koyunjik and Nimroud

Treasury of Ornament004

Greek Polychrome Architecture

Friezes, cassette panels, cornices and painted ornament from Selinus, Propylaea and the temple of Nike Apteros and other sites in Athens

Treasury of Ornament005

Greek Pottery

Wine amphora, drinking vessels and vases. "The oldest Greek vases are the most simply decorated; on a light ground colour of clay bands, circles, squares etc. used to be painted. But soon they appear also with friezes, decorated with figures of animals. [..] Subsequently figural representations appear between bands: undulating lines, heart-shapes and laurel leaves, meanders etc. [..] In the zenith of Greek ceramique art the colouring of the ground and of the ornamental and figural representations underwent a change. The orange colour of the clay was spared, the bacground filled with black. The figures, drawn with the brush, show much firmness and a noble elegance." {this snip gives a rough indication of the translational quality, such as it is, of the book}

Treasury of Ornament006

Roman Ornamental Architecture and Sculpture

Friezes, capitals, candelabra, rosettes and cornices - mainly corinthian with some composite and mixed corinthian/ionic features

Treasury of Ornament007

Roman Mosaic Floors

Frieze, floor and plate-mosaics, many originating in Pompeii

Treasury of Ornament008

Pompeian Wallpainting and Polychrome Basso Relievos

The wallpaintings found at Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae (and Rome) are probably reproductions of originals - now lost - by the Greek masters

Treasury of Ornament009

Chinese Painting

Porcelain painting: The principal native plants used for decorative patterns are the leaves and flowers from the tea-shrub, roses, camellias, melons etc.

Treasury of Ornament010

Chinese Painting Weaving Embroidery and Email Cloisonné*

Vases, bowls, wooden chest and curtain designs (cloisonné is a technique where outlines of the scenes are formed by soldered metal borders and enamelling takes place within each resulting 'cell')

Treasury of Ornament011

Japan Lacker Painting [sic]

Where Chinese lacquer ware designs are dominated by scenes from nature, the Japanese art more often employs geometric patterns. The most precious papier-mâché and wooden objects have up to twenty coats of lacquer applied, often with reapplication of the design in gold paint (gilding) in between each layer of lacquer, resulting in a 'relief' appearance

Treasury of Ornament012

Japan Weaving, Painting and Email Cloisonné

Porcelain and enamelled vases and border patterns from silk.

Treasury of Ornament013

Indian Metal Work

Etched and damascened ornament/decoration on battle axes, inlaid rhino skin shield and various copper and tin vessels (including a hookah)

Treasury of Ornament014

Indian Embroidery, Weaving, Plaiting and Lacquerwork [sic]

Carpets, plaited rush mat, cashmere shawl, painted lacquer and embroidered silk. Primary natural motives include the lotus and palm branch

Treasury of Ornament015

Indian Metal Work, Embroidery, Weaving and Painting

Chiselled, enamelled and jewelled arms, embroidered fans, table cover, saddle cloth and parasol; woven shawl and woven material borders, lacquer bookcover and illuminated manuscript designs.

Treasury of Ornament016

Persian Architecture

Entablature, window frame, column capitals, minaret and various architectural details (all from Isfahan*)

Treasury of Ornament017

Persian Pottery

Fayence (tin-glazed) plates and wall wainscot borders. "Both the invariably flat treatment of the ornament and the prevalence of the natural imitation of flowers constitute the characteristic style of Persian decoration."

This is the first of three or maybe four posts presenting scans (by me) from 'The Treasury of Ornament' by Heinrich Dolmetsch, first published as 'Der Ornamentenschatz' by Verlag von Julius Hoffman in Stuttgart in 1887.

The book is fairly fragile and I can't of course pull it apart, so it's difficult to get the highest grade quality: there's some focus anomalies at the edges at times but overall I don't think it's too bad. I'll probably end up scanning about three quarters of the total plates.



Mamadou said...

I really enjoyed this post, P. Great find!

zorzynek said...

another great post. thank you!

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Interesting. I've got Owen Jones' "Grammar of Ornament" that seems to overlap significantly with this. Was one inspired by the other?

peacay said...


Adam, I was going to get into the background a bit more next time (or the one after that), but yeah, for sure, it brings Jones to mind. It's no rip off (so I believe: although I haven't actually gone to specifically check image similarities myself yet) but obviously anything after Jones on this general subject drew inspiration from him.

Simona Ardelean said...

these cultures are amazing!

Karla said...

I was going to inquire about Jones as well. But instead I'll note that I hadn't realized "email" was a technical term for enamel in English... I did discover awhile back that it means enamel in Czech. (This would be a good argument for spelling the other kind of email "e-mail" but I think that spelling has already faded away.)

Mr. Kimberly said...

These images are just gorgeous. Thanks for taking the personal work to get them online.

lotusgreen said...

before i read your notes, i thought i was looking at owen jones and liking it for the first time!

interesting that every entry, however, fits neatly into the time's preference of 'aesthetic style.'

does this one include japan? (the jones one does not)

Jennifer K. said...

Thank you so much for this. These are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so glad to be able to see them.

Rahanhulk said...

have you seen that taschen published a book on ornament after these two encyclopedia : Racinet's L'Ornement polychrome Volumes I and II (1875-1888) and Dupont-Auberville's L'Ornement des tissus (1877).

I love your blog by the way, thanks for bringing great stuff to us.

peacay said...

Thanks Rahanhulk. I had noticed the Taschen publication a couple of months ago: I think I either mentioned it on Twitter or shared it via Greader. It looks to be a fabulous book (as all Taschen works are).

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