Extraordinary forms of pottery from the Roman Influence Period

13 December 2016 – January 2017

Exhibition curators: mgr Alicja Gałęzowska, mgr Patrycja Silska

Place: Gorka Palace, ul. Wodna 27, 61-781 Poznań

The exhibition features a number of extraordinary pottery vessels that come from the area inhabited by barbarians in the first centuries of the common era. They include the imitations of metal, glass and clay objects manufactured in the provinces of the Roman Empire. These were rarely exact copies, as in the world of barbarians the Roman forms underwent transformations, and they were adapted to the local tastes. The most common forms found in Poland are represented by clay imitations of glass bowls decorated with ribs and some types of glass and clay goblets. An interesting category of pottery comprises mysterious vessels with glass panes set into their bottoms and sometimes also into the walls. Thus far, the function and meaning of these vessels have not been convincingly explained. Among pottery peculiarities are also so called hedgehog vessels ornamented with multiple protrusions emulating similar decorations of Roman glass and clay vessels.

Another noteworthy group includes pots covered with schematic or stylized figural ornaments executed with incising or impressing techniques, and sometimes with plastic elements. Vessels with figural representations are known mainly from cemeteries. Rarely, they depict zoomorphic motifs, including deer, horses, cattle, birds, or anthropomorphic ones, which are interpreted as representations of orantes or deities. More often, potters reached for geometrical motifs – swastikas, crosses or circles, which may have had an apotropaic character. It is generally accepted that figural depictions had symbolic meaning, associated with the realm of believes, particularly those of eschatological nature. The interpretation of individual figural representations is limited to hypothetical divagations.

The displayed pottery vessels come from Greater Poland, and they are housed in the collection of the Archaeological Museum in Poznań. The visitors to the exhibition have an opportunity to see these rare and unique finds, which normally are hidden from the eyes of the public.