Revised by: Böhlendorf-Arslan, Beate

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst. Bestandskataloge

Band 3: Spätantike, byzantinische und postbyzantinische Keramik

22.5 x 31.5 cm, 784 p., 1306 line drawings b/w, 1358 illustrations color, hardback
198,00 €

ISBN: 9783895009860
Table of Contents

Short Description

The Museum of Byzantine Art in the Bode Museum in Berlin is in the possession of over 1300 Byzantine clay vessels, and others made in the Byzantine tradition, dating from the 4th to the 16th century. They have mostly been acquired in purchases and donations in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Constantinple, Thessaloniki and other places. There is also a larger amount of ceramic, which has been sent to the museum from the first archaeological excavations and research in Pergamon, Miletus, Priene, and Cilicia. The comprehensive presentation in this catalogue represents the first time that this material is dated and arranged according to provenance.


„The palace, however, was suffering from such poverty at the time, that not a single bowl or goblet there was made of gold or silver, but some were made of tin and the rest of ceramic or clay“ (Nikephoros Gregoras, Historia Rhomaïke, Kap. XV, 3-4).
Cooking, transport and strorage of food, eating and drinking are primary activities of everyday life. Not just since Nikephoros in the 14th century, but certainly at all times people most commonly used ceramic for the storage, preparation and serving of food. Ceramic, therefore, represents everyday culture, which can often not be illuminated from other sources, like no other type of findings. Clay is a cheap material used by potters to make functional storage containers, simple plates and bowls, as well as labour-intensive, elaborate, high-quality tableware.
Every pottery has a characteristic composition of the raw material clay and makes types of vessels according to the current fashion, covers the surfaces in varied ways with differently mixed engobe and enamel in different colours. The forms and motifs of decoration are individually designed in each workshop, even if the taste of the period can be seen in all pieces to a certain extent. These specific characteristics help to place vessels in a period and a manufacture. They are also an indicator of the prevalent table manners and of the social environment of the owner. The decorative images on the ceramic, with their mostly traditional character, represent the craft of the general population and not the high art of the aristocracy. They therefore represent the aesthetic feelings of the masses and illustrate the taste of the population.
The over 1300 vessels and fragments of the Berlin Museum represent an exceptional range of the ceramic of the Byzantine period and also offer a perspective into the production of Ottoman times and neighbouring cultures, which were influenced by Byzantine pottery traditions. This catalogue thus offers an ideal insight into the craftsmanship of the Eastern Mediterranean and, with its broad range of different items and wealth of information, is a reference work for archaeology and art history.

Biographical Note

Beate Böhlendorf-Arslan, studied pre- and proto-history, Christian archaeology and Byzantine art history as well as Near Eastern archaeology in Tübingen, Istanbul and Heidelberg. 2001-2007 assistant professor for medieval archaeology in Çanakkale, Turkey. 2008-2010 research fellow at the Chair for Christian archaeology and Byzantine art history at the university of Freiburg; 2011 academic assistant at the university of Heidelberg; 2012-2013 research fellow at the Chair for Christian archaeology and Byzantine art history at the university of Mainz; since October 2013 research fellow (DFG) at the RGZM Mainz for the study of the Byzantine town of Assos. Main areas of research: Byzantine archaelogy and realia (ceramic, glass, tools and utensils, clothing accessories).


Archaeology (527) || Archaeology by period / region (444) || Bulgaria (2) || Byzantine Empire (40) || Byzantine style (2) || Byzanz (31) || Ceramic & glass: artworks (49) || Cultural & media studies (304) || Cultural studies (286) || Cyprus (7) || Datierung (16) || Ernährung || Essen und Trinken || Exhibition catalogues & specific collections (210) || Fine arts: art forms (180) || Fine arts: treatments & subjects (401) || Greece (58) || Historical states & empires: multi-continental (57) || Historical states, empires & regions (229) || History of art (240) || History of engineering & technology (7) || Keramik (35) || Material culture (57) || Oströmisches Reich || Ottoman Empire (13) || Romania (3) || Römisches Reich (16) || Society & culture: general (409) || Stratigrafie || Tischkultur || Ton || Tonwaren || Turkey (227) || Töpferei (4) || Werkstatt (2) || c 1000 CE to c 1500 (376) || c 500 CE to c 1000 CE (181)