Sunday, 31 August 2014

ERMENT - 1.1

I at last got underway the Erment model reconstruction I have planned for ages.
The Erment model is a damaged terracotta model of a ship with three banks of oars. It was bought in a market in Erment in northern Egypt by a Danish tourist in the early nineteenth century. It has been dated to between 300 and 31BC by the museum but researchers have narrowed this to between 300 and 350BC. It has no surviving context so we cannot do better than this. Maybe the original was a votive offering made by an insecure trierarch or maybe it was just a coffee-table piece - we cannot know.

Erment model in Nationalmuseet København

I will write a detailed piece on the significance of the model later. It has been used to support various theories as to how ancient ships were constructed.

I have made the replica, about 75% original size to ensure it fitted in my kiln - original is about 50cm long. I will do a full size one when I have sorted out al the problems of construction.
I used a high chamotte red-firing clay which should give a similar colour to the original.
Erment Trireme sails again !
The original has been mistreated over the centuries and lost its oars and the deck-crew (always a dangerous job!). From the stubs remaining I made oars and men in suitably simplified style. The extra details give the model a more impressive appearance already.
Epibatai and kybernetes on deck
The fired model will be covered in a layer of very white slip and fired again. You can see the remains of this on the original. I will then paint the model as was usual in Hellenistic times with bright colours to include fine details not seen in the clay. Some details of the original colour remain to copy and we also have the famous Tanagra-style figures to reference.
Slim vicious profile of a trireme as it approaches to ram !
I am now itching to fire the thing but it must first dry thoroughly. There are  a lot of 'fixings' on this thing and as any potter knows, they can fall to pieces if dried too fast.