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Quince, Inv. T I-54

Hollow. Upper section from the mould, the lower added by hand, not finished, smoothed. Long tear at the transition from the middle to the lower third. Minor abrasions. Surface partly roughly cleaned. Sinter residues in places.

Light brown, 10 YR 6/5. White engobe, no traces of paint.

Provenance: Unknown; from the collection Evangelos Tataris, Friedberg.

Dimensions: H: 4,5 cm; diameter: 5,2 cm.

References: M. Recke, Neues aus der Antikensammlung Gießen – Jahresbericht 2012-2013, Dezember 2013, 19 fig. 2 b.



Description: The spherical object is divided into five sectors in the upper half by vertical grooves. At the top in the centre there is an approximately 4 mm hole with a smooth edge in a shallow depression.

Commentary: The vertical caesurae dividing the roundish object into sections of approximately equal size suggest that it is a quince. Although a pomegranate can also have shallow vertical indentations, it lacks the thick inflorescence common to the fruit[1].
In ancient Greek and Latin evidence, the quince is called "kydonic apple" - μῆλον κγδώνιον - malum cydonium[2] . But authors often restrict themselves to the short form μῆλον - apple, even if other apple-like tree fruits, even pomegranates, are meant. To this day, the distinction between their imitations[3] is equally blurred. Quinces and pomegranates were equally regarded as symbols of love and marriage, fertility and immortality [4]. Widespread far beyond the Mediterranean, they grew together with vines in the gardens of the nymphs[5].
Replicas of the fruits adorn reliefs[6] and coins[7], murals[8] and vase paintings[9]. In the form of round sculptured terracotta votives, they were given to the deceased in the grave and consecrated in sanctuaries; for example in Attica, Boeotia and Olynth, on the Aegean islands, on the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor, but above all on the Apennine Peninsula[10]. Individual pieces came to light in residential districts[11], where they were probably used in domestic cults.
The round sculptured quinces are divided into six, five or four sectors[12]. From an extensive compilation of the various versions - the communication of which would go beyond the scope of the text here - it is clear that the clay fruits divided into six sectors were found exclusively on the Apennine Peninsula, while the specimens with five and four sectors originated both from there and from the Greek heartland and islands respectively.    
With five sectors, the Giessen quince belongs, as far as can be judged so far, to the most extensive group of its kind. The origin from a Greek private collection does not allow any conclusion as to the landscape of origin. In form, the piece resembles specimens from Rhodes[13] and Rhitsona/Boeotia[14] as well as those from Taranto[15] and Etruria[16]. The location of a parallel in Hanover is not known[17]. The clay colours - a light brown in T I-54 - also do not provide a definite clue.     
Stylistically, the piece is characterised by moderately deep grooves that continue from a triangular cross-section into the curvature of the sectors. The examples mentioned show similar smooth transitions between depressions and plastic curvatures. In contrast, on a quince group from the Hera sanctuary at Paestum, the notches are either deeply cut into the smooth curvature of the surface or broadly and shallowly carved, creating a more graphic effect[18]. According to the context, the find is dated to around the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 4th century BC. The quinces from Centuripe[19], like the clay vessels and statuettes recovered from the same grave, were made at the end of the 3rd/beginning of the 2nd century BC. Although they resemble the Giessen specimen in their contours, they differ from it in that they have additional vertical incisions - two to three per sector - which begin at the top of the stem and end again after a short course.

Determination: The similarity with fruits from the graves in Rhitsona/Boeotia, which can be dated to the end of the 6th/beginning of the 5th century B.C. [20], suggests approximately the same date of origin for the specimen Giessen T I-54, while the landscape in which the quince was made cannot be determined in more detail at present.



[1] S. Bianco – M. Tagliente, Il Museo Nazionale della Siritide di Policoro (Bari 1993) 135 figs. 2 a. b. Clara Rhodos 4, 1931, 120 fig. 110, 2; F. Muthmann, Der Granatapfel (Bern 1982) 59 figs. 44. 45, p. 62 fig. 48.

[2] S. Dörr, ΜΗΛΟΝ ΚΥΔΩΝΙΟΝ (Malum cydonium) – Quitte oder Apfel? Hermes 123, 1995, 341 f.; L. Frey-Asche, Tonfiguren aus dem Altertum. Antike Terrakotten im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Hamburg 1997) 64-66.

[3] R. A. Higgins, Cat. of the Terracottas in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum I (London 1954) 80 f. no. 198-200 pl. 34; "Quitte oder Apfel", P. N. Ure, Aryballoi and Figurines from Rhitsona in Boeotia (Cambridge 1934) 72 pl. 18; H. Baumann, Pflanzenbilder auf griechischen Münzen (München 2000) 33 figs. 57, 51 fig. 118; M. Bell, Morgantina Studies (Princeton 1981) 228 no. 897 pl. 134; Chr. Reusser, Etruskische Kunst Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig (Basel 1988) 82 no. E 115:

[4] J. Trumpf, Kydonische Äpfel, Hermes 88, 1960, 16.19; L. Frey-Asche, ΠΟΛΛΑ ΜΕΝ ΚΥΔΩΝΙΑ ΜΑΛΑ, in: H. Büsing – F. Hiller (eds.), Bathron. Heinrich Drerup zu seinem 80. Geburtstag (Saarbrücken 1988) 135-140 figs. 1. 2.

[5] This is how the poet Ibykos, from Rhegion (Reggio Calabria) in the middle of the 6th century BC, tells it. Trumpf ibid. 14; Frey-Asche ibid. 1997, 65.

[6] F. Muthmann, Der Granatapfel (Bern 1982) 80 f. figs. 69. 71; E. Pfuhl – H. Möbius, Die ostgriechischen Grabreliefs (Mainz 1977) 78 no. 103 pl. 24.

[7] Baumann ibid. 32 f. 50 f.

[8] Mural in the house of Julia Felix, Pompeii, with apples, grapes, a burst pomegranate and - possibly - two quinces, Muthmann ibid. 100, fig. 85.

[9] G. Schneider-Herrmann, Der Ball bei den Westgriechen, BaBesch 46, 1971, 123-133.

[10] Frey-Asche ibid. 1997, 65.

[11] Olynth XIV, 259 pl. 106, Haus B.

[12] Example for six sectors: Hamburg, Inv.-no. 1968.13, Frey-Asche 1997, 64-66 fig. 41; id. (Frey) AA 1974, 75 f. no. 43 ; id. 1988, 135-140 fig. 1; five sectors: Hannover, Inv.-no. 1937, 240; U. Liepmann, Griechische Terrakotten, Bronzen, Skulpturen (Hannover 1975) 58 T 40, 1; four sectors: Würzburg, Inv.-no. H 4834, E. Schmidt, Katalog der antiken Terrakotten. Martin-von-Wagner-Museum der Universität Würzburg Teil 1. Die figürlichen Terrakotten (Mainz 1994) 114 f. no. 169 pl. 32 e; id., Eros auf der Quitte, in: Alessandria e il mondo ellenistico-romano. Studi in onore di Achille Adriani (Rom 1984) 823-826 pl. 130, 1.

[13] Higgins ibid. 80 f. no. 198-200 pl. 34.

[14] Ure ibid. 72 no. 18.264 pl. 17.

[15] E. de Juliis – D. Loiacono, Taranto. Il Museo Archeologico (Milano 1985) 389 fig. 479.

[16] Chr. Reusser, Etruskische Kunst Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig (Basel 1988) 82 no. E 115; F. W. Hamdorf , Die figürlichen Terrakotten der Staatlichen Antikensammlung München 2 (Lindenberg im Allgäu 2014) 617 f., nos. E 915. E 917.

[17] Liepmann ibid. 58 no. T 40.

[18] M. Zammarelli, in: I Greci in Occidente. Poseidonia e i Lucani (Napoli 1996) 219 figs. 145-155; T. C. Loprete, in: I Greci in Occidente. Greci, Enotri e Lucani nella Basilicata meridionale (Napoli 1996) 265 f. fig. 3.40.35.

[19] U. Wintermeyer, Ein Grabfund aus Centuripe, in: P. Gercke (Hrsg.), Funde aus der Antike. Sammlung Paul Dierichs (Kassel 1981) 148 fig. 72.

[20] Ure ibid. 68. 72 nos. 112.82 and 18.264 pl. 18; for the dating s. Frey-Asche 1988, 135 f.