Assyrian Pottery

Assyrian pottery was the stepping-stone from Egyptian to Grecian, and is principally known by bricks of a slightly rose-white earth, with a surface not enamelled but covered with a glaze, the predominant color of which is the turquoise blue. A date anterior to 522 B. C. can be affixed with certainty to the production of this pottery, as in that year Darius destroyed the city of Babylon, among whose ruins many of these bricks have been found. Mr. Loftus reports that he found at Warka bricks bearing the name of Uruk (about 2200 B. C.). They were generally ornamented with arabesques, but several walls have been uncovered, decorated with paintings of figures, animals and trees.

Assyrian coffins are found of baked clay covered with a green glaze, and contain among other things objects of pottery and earthen figures, some of which are modelled with delicacy. They learned the art of glazing from Egypt and became very perfect in its use. We find pieces carefully embossed and enriched with green, yellow, brown, and various other colored glazes, and they seem to have made gold decorations at an early date. Later, when the Greeks spread their influence through Asia Minor, their artistic influence can be traced upon the work of Assyrian potters.

One of the first uses made of pottery was as tablets for records ; impressions were made on soft clay, which was then fired. Some of these tablets have come down to our age in perfect condition, and have proved invaluable historical records.