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Title: The Iconography of the Wine Drinker in 'Port St Symeon' Ware from the Crusader Era
Author(s): VORDERSTRASSE, Tasha
Journal: Eastern Christian Art
Volume: 2    Date: 2005   
Pages: 59-76
DOI: 10.2143/ECA.2.0.2004549

Abstract :
While Port St Symeon ware has traditionally been seen as a Crusader ware, an analysis of the pottery indicates that it was produced not only by potters living under the Franks in the Principality of Antioch, but also in the Cilician Kingdom of Armenia. This paper will examine one particular aspect of Port St Symeon ware iconography in order to begin to understand the pottery and to place it within its socio-cultural context. It forms part of a larger study on Port St Symeon ware that I am currently conducting. The majority of Port St Symeon ware decoration is geometric, floral, and, more rarely, figural. The figural iconography includes fantastic beasts (sphinxes, harpies, and griffins), wild and domestic animals (deer, pigs, horses, felines, and oxen), human representations, crosses, and heraldic devices. One of the most popular figural motifs is the representation of the man seated cross-legged drinking wine, usually with the addition of a wine flask. The examination of the banqueting man will not only include a description of the iconography and a comparison with that on other objects of Islamic, Byzantine, Cilician Armenian, and Crusader material culture, but also attempt to reconstruct the reasons why the makers might have decorated their pottery with this particular theme. This will provide information about the connections between workers in the Crusader states in different media: pottery, glass, manuscript illumination, wood carvings, textiles, stone sculpture, and ivory carvings. Finally, it will conclude with a discussion of what this tells us about the cultural influences on the potters who produced Port St Symeon ware and the consumers who used this pottery in terms of display.

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