Friday, 20 January 2017

The Etruscan sun

This is Etruscan sun shaped dish from Cerveteri, Calabresi tomb, dated to mid 7th century BC (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Vatican Museums, Rome). You can see the high resolution image of this object here.

It belongs to the "bucchero" (bukkero) type of ceramics which was produced in central Italy by the pre-Roman Etruscan population, who called themselves Raseni. Regarded as the "national" pottery of ancient Etruria, bucchero ware is distinguished by its black fabric as well as glossy, black surface achieved through the unique "reduction" method in which it was fired.

This is also one of the most important misunderstood objects that I have come across so far. 

Officially the animals represented on it are bulls and rams????

Actually the two animals at the bottom are two lions, you can clearly see that because they have manes. The animal at the top is a bull. The composition represents summer.  

Summer is the sunny, hot part of the year, which is what the blazing sun shape indicates.

The Summer starts on the 6th of May, Beltane, Jarilo day, which falls in the middle of Taurus zodiac sign. This is what the bull symbolizes. Autumn begins on the 2nd of August, Crom Dubh day, Lughnasadh, Perun day. This day falls in the middle of the Leo zodiac sign and this is what two facing lions symbolize. You can read more about this in my post "Two Crosses" and in my post "Ognjena Marija".

There are also two dogs etched on the sun disc. One dog is standing between the lions, to mark the "dog days", the hottest period of the summer which also falls in the middle of Leo zodiac sign. The other dog is licking bull's neck. The reason why dog is licking the bull's neck is because summer, represented by the bull, is "killed" by autumn, represented by the lion(s). This killing of summer happens during dog days. The dog is licking the bull's neck because the blood is gushing out of it. The bull's neck is symbolically slit when harvest begins just like the "necks" of wheat (wheat stalks) are slit by harvesters during harvest... I talked about the link between harvest and slaughtering in my post "Klas".

Now a question: where else have you seen a dog licking a bull's neck? Can you remember?

So to conclude. The meaning of this object is: The bull is killed by the lion, summer gets replaced by autumn. Harvest begins. Rejoice...

One more interesting thing:

The lions are eating people, which are etched disappearing into lions' mouths. Did Etruscans sacrifice people on the first day of Harvest?

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