• latw-59-10
    Lydian terracotta corner sima tile: front view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-59-20
    Lydian terracotta corner sima tile: bottom view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-59-30
    Lydian terracotta corner sima tile: 3/4 view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-59-40
    Archaeologist Pinar Özgüner and Sima T08.005 with Lydian Building Reconstruction (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Fragment of a terracotta sima, with winged horse and painted komast

Date
Probably first half of the sixth century BC, Lydian
Museum
Inventory No.
Sardis CATNUM
T08.005
Material
Terracotta
Object Type
Architectural Terracotta
Site
Sardis
Sector
AC
Trench
AC-FT 08.1
Locus
Ac-FT 08.1 Locus 7
Description
Lower right corner of a lateral spouted terracotta sima. Front side with molded and painted figural decoration on white background. Molded hindquarters of rearing horse facing left with part of tail preserved. The horse, most likely a winged Pegasus, has its rear legs on the ground; upper part of body and forequarters are missing. Left leg is white with anatomical details outlined in black, while right leg and tail are entirely black. Under the horse, a stylized black painted komast is dancing towards the left, with the left leg raised and the right one on the ground; his face is turned back to the right. On the lower border, black zigzag pattern framed by narrow black band above and below. Underside shows a design of painted black lozenges contained in a reserved white panel 11 cm wide. Internal surface of tile is painted in streaky red and black. Broken, left and upper parts of tile missing. Preserved height 0.13 m, preserved width 0.24 m, preserved length 0.148 m, thickness 0.028 m.
Comments
Recovered from a spur of the Acropolis, located just below isolated Byzantine defense construction called “Hanging Towers” (Excavation sector Ac-FT), together with other fragmentary rooftiles and architectural terracottas, Lydian coins Nos. 17, 18, and 29, and other material of Lydian and Persian date. Two fragments of pottery with incised monograms, perhaps reading ART[ (for Artemis), might identify the source of this material as a sanctuary of Artemis on the Acropolis. While the motif of the prancing horse or Pegasus is well known in Lydian architectural terracottas, the figure of the dancing komast is apparently a unique addition.
Discussed
Ateşlier, “Architectural Terracottas”; Cahill, “City of Sardis”
Bibliography
Cahill forthcoming.
Author
CHG