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Athos Holy Mount

10.4 Dish formerly walled in the Kathisma of Hagios Simon
Simonopetra Monastery
Polychrome painted slipware
Height 5 cm, rim diameter 25 cm


The Original New Testament

This dish, of reddish-brown clay with a low annular base, has a white slip under a transparent, colourless glaze. Its polychrome painted decoration of floral motifs outlined in black is typical of the style favoured by the 'Rhodian' potters (Lane 1957, p. 54: Iznik III, the 'Rhodian' style): a slender stem of blue hyacinth in the centre, flanked by a pair of red tulips with green leaves. Around the rim runs an inscription, executed in black capital letters, reading: '+ ΜΑΚΑΡΙΟΥ ΙΕΡΟΜΟΝΑΧΟΥ ΕΚ ΝΗΣΟΥ ΜΗΛΟΥ ΕΤΗ 1679' (+ Hieromonk Makarios, of the island of Melos, 1679).

This dish is one of a pair; the other - carnations replacing the tulips, same inscription -, which also comes from the Kathisma of Hagios Simon, is in fairly poor condition in the sacristy of the Monastery of Simonopetra.

A pair of dishes of similar manufacture, decorative technique and origin are set into the wall on the first floor of the west wing of the Monastery of Pantokrator, flanking a marble plaque with an engraved inscription commemorating the renovation of the wing in 1744 υπό του τιμιωτάτου κυρίου κυρ Tριανταφύλλου και νέου κτήτορος (by the reverent Kyr Triantaphyllos, and new donor). These dishes are decorated in green and blue, the motifs again outlined in black: one displays an array of fish and other sea creatures, and the other birds (?). The rims of both dishes bear an inscription, in black capitals, reading: '1678 + ΝΕΩΦΗΤΟΥ ΙΕΡΟΜΟΝΑΧΟΥ' (1678 + Of hieromonk Neophytos). The pair of dishes in the Monastery of Pantokrator are mentioned by Smyrnakis: 'lovely Rhodian dish from approximately 1700' (Smyrnakis 1988, p. 532). The fact that the dishes were manufactured in 1678 while the marble plaque commemorates an event which took place in 1744 shows that the plates thus set into walls were not always contemporaneous with the buildings they ornamented; this is also seen in the recently restored northern section of the west wing, in which dishes of older, more recent and quite modern manufacture were walled as decoration.

These four dishes of Pantokrator and Simonopetra Monasteries, dated 1678 and 1679, suggest that Mount Athos had dealings with a center of 'Rhodian' pottery, where orders were placed by individual monks.

Bibliography: Unpublished.

Ch. B.
Index of exhibits of Monastery of Simonopetra
17th century

The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I

Icon of the Mother of God and New Testament Reader Promote Greek Learning
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Learned Freeware


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