Early Hittite Vase

Early Hittite Vase

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History of Antique Vases

If Roger Federer successfully defends his Australian Open tennis title this January, he'll win three things: a place in the record books, £2.32 million in prize money, and a vase.

Though it might seem like the least impressive prize, this vase - the trophy known as the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup - is a superb feat of craftsmanship. The wide-rimmed, twin-handled, silver gilt vase is strikingly beautiful and is actually a model of a famous 2nd Century AD Roman vase, known as the Warwick vase.

Today we might think of vases as little more than vessels for flowers, but they in fact have multiple uses in modern culture: as storage containers, commemorative objects, pots for trees and flowers, decorative items, gifts, and even trophies.

The reason for this is simple. Vases have occupied a unique place in human history, with most of the vase designs and uses we have today being established centuries ago. Indeed, the practice of giving vases as trophies is one which dates back to Ancient Greece.

This blog post tells the story of how vases have been used throughout history and how they have played a role, not only as practical objects, but as some of the most beautiful pieces of art ever made.


The term vase typically referred to a freestanding, symmetrical vessel having a wider mouth than foot [Fig. 1], although some British pattern books included types with narrow mouths and elaborate lids [Fig. 2]. If fitted with a foot or pedestal set on either a small base or plinth, the vessel sometimes was referred to as an urn. Throughout history, ashes of the dead have been deposited in urns, giving them symbolic importance. Frequently urns were used for memorials and monuments, especially in cemeteries. In the context of the designed landscape, treatise writers often strongly recommended that the vase be placed on top of a pedestal or plinth so that it would be easily visible. A. J. Downing elaborated upon this point in an 1836 article about architecture and at greater length in his 1849 treatise, when he explained that without such a placement, the vase would appear as a temporary, accidental introduction to the landscape. A permanent base, in his opinion, gave the vase the “character of art, at once more dignified and expressive of stability” [Fig. 3].

Vases functioned primarily as ornamentation and were associated with a number of garden features. In his eighteenth-century treatise, Antoine-Joseph Dezallier d’Argenville suggested that vases could be used to decorate parterres, placed amidst planting features (such as groves) or in water features (such as basins), situated at the termination of walks and vistas, or housed within structures (such as porticos and arbors).

Vases continued to be featured in ornamental landscapes well into the 19th century, despite many changes in garden design. A painting of Kalorama, for example, depicts a vase at the center of the view [Fig. 4]. The connection between vases and water features continued as well. Downing’s texts, for example, contain numerous references to vases as fountains. The strategic placement of vases in pleasure grounds also endured. At the early 19th-century estate of Blithewood in Dutchess County, New York, vases of grey Maltese stone (which Downing praised for its ability to harmonize with vegetation) were used throughout the pleasure grounds and, in particular, at the corners of adjoining walks. Vases were also used at the termination of walks, where they served as visual focal points as in a suburban garden design described in 1848 in the Horticulturist.

Treatise authors from different periods agreed that the vase should never be placed far from the house. Thomas Whately, in his 1770 treatise, insisted that the vase “attend the mansion, and trespass a little upon the garden.” In 1849 Downing reiterated Whately's idea, explaining that since the vase was a “highly artificial and architectural” object, it must be situated in the pleasure ground in such a manner that it would always “appear in some way connected with buildings, or objects of a like architectural character.” He cautioned further that vases be used judiciously. If placed “indiscriminately. . . where they have really no place, but interfere with the quiet character of surrounding nature,” vases ran the danger of destroying the “unity of expression” that Downing and others sought.

The function and placement of the vase was closely connected to its style and form. As several treatise writers counseled, vases should be stylistically consistent with their settings and, when placed near the house, should reflect the architectural character of the structure, such as Gothic, Grecian, Roman, or Italianate styles. In nineteenth-century treatises, vases in the classical or ancient style emerged as the most popular. A favored model was the Warwick Vase, a carved and decorated white marble vase from Hadrian’s Villa. The vase was recovered from the Roman site in 1770 by the Englishman William Hamilton and was subsequently taken to England by his nephew, George, Earl of Warwick. At Montgomery Place, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis and Downing in the 1840s, a Warwick-style vase was placed in the center of the flower garden [Fig. 5]. In 1849, Downing described the popular option of the rustic-style vase, in which the vessel was made out of the “branches and sections of trees with the bark attached.”

Outdoor vases were usually large in scale, two to three feet in height. They could be composed of a variety of materials, such as cast-brass, lead gilt, marble, stone and stucco, according to Dezallier d’Argenville. Downing, writing nearly one hundred and fifty years later, gave an equally wide-ranging list, including stone, artificial stone, plaster, and Roman cement. He also cited inexpensive materials intended to imitate luxury materials, such as terra-cotta and English Staffordshire, which could be treated to emulate marble. Downing's allusion to Staffordshire pottery suggests the near-dominant presence of refined British pottery in America. Nevertheless, he mentioned several American manufacturers that produced vases and noted especially such New York manufacturers as the Salamander Works, the Garnick Company, and Coffee’s Manufactory.

Vases were also used as plant containers, as indicated in Augustus Weidenbach’s c. 1858 painting of the garden at Belvedere in Baltimore [Fig. 6], or in C. M. Hovey's 1839 description of a greenhouse or conservatory. Nevertheless, large-scale, ornamental vases were often regarded as works of art, and, therefore, as J. C. Loudon argued, cited by Downing in 1849, they should not be reduced to the level of “a mere garden flower-pot.”

Hittites, The

The Hittites were the dark descendants of Heth, the second son of Canaan, youngest son of Ham. In the Book of Genesis, they are declared to be one of the 12 Canaanite nations dwelling inside or close to Canaan from the time of Abraham up to Ezra’s era. They lived in the Promised Land to the Israelites. That’s why God commanded the Israelites to eradicate them. But they were not destroyed and still dwell in southern Palestine and around Jerusalem with the Hebrews. The Hittite empire flourished and were shown on the Biblical Timeline chart starting from 2300 BC to about 1100 BC

The Great Hittite Empire

The Hittite Empire is mentioned over and over in the Bible as one of the most powerful empires in the ancient times. Scholars used to question the accuracy of the Bible saying that such a big Hittite Empire was only hearsay since it was nowhere to be found. They considered the Hittites a small group of people living in the hills of Canaan together with Abraham.

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This was until the discovery showing the center of this great civilization, Hattusa – which was then followed by unearthing the treaty of Kadesh in Egypt establishing the Hittite capital, Hattusa and Heliopolis. And other important proofs such as remnants, tablets, documents, and successful excavations soon revealed the truth about the existence of this great empire.

The Capital City, Hattusa

Hattusa, the capital city of the amazing Hittite Empire, was excavated inside the circle of Kizil River situated close to the Boğazkale, Turkey. It was surrounded by forest that supplied enough wood for building and maintaining a large city.. The land around it was suitable for agriculture, and the hill lands could support pasture animals. The small rivers around the area supplied enough water for the people. But since these rivers are not appropriate for big ships, transportation in and out of the city was mainly by land.

On top of the city was a rock used to shield the metropolis. Archaeologists today tried to reconstruct a small area of the walls with the same materials and techniques used by the Hittites to have a glimpse of how Hattusa looked in its glory days. Excavations showed that the city was almost deserted when it was attacked and burned.

Parts of the Bible that mention Hittites:

  • Genesis 23:5, 7, 10, 16, 18. Hittites as the sons of Heth.
  • Genesis 15:20. Hittites as one of Abram’s descendants.
  • Genesis 15:18-21. The Lord made a covenant with Abram giving the land from the river of Egypt to the great river the Euphrates to Abram and his descendants that includes Hittites.
  • Deuteronomy 20:17, 7:1, Joshua 3:10. The Lord commanded the Israelites to destroy the Hittites along with the other children of Canaan.
  • Numbers 13:29, Joshua 11:1. The Hittites are living in the “hill country”.
  • Genesis 23:8-19. Abraham bought the field of Ephron the Hittite located in Machpelah and buried his wife, Sara, in the cave facing Mamre.
  • Genesis 25:8-9. Abraham died and was buried in the cave of Machpelah, which he bought from the son of Zohar the Hittite, Ephron.
  • Judges 3:5. The Israelites lived among the locals that included the Hittites.
  • Genesis 27:46. Rebekah objected to Jacob marrying a Hittite woman.
  • 2 Chronicles 1:17. Imported chariots and horses were given to the kings of the Hittites.
  • 2 Kings 7:6, 1 Kings 10:29. Hittites have their own kingdoms and were hired by the king of Israel, along with the Egyptian kingdoms to fight against the Syrians.
  • Joshua 11:1-2. Hittites allied with King Jabin of Hazor to fight against Joshua.
  • 2 Samuel 11:3. The Hittite warrior, Uriah was the husband of Eliam’s daughter, Bathsheba.

Scholarly Debate Concerning the Hittites

It is a matter of considerable scholarly debate whether the biblical “Hittites” signified any or all of: 1) the original Hattites of Hatti 2) their Indo-European conquerors (Nesili), who retained the name “Hatti” for Central Anatolia, and are today referred to as the “Hittites” (the subject of this article) or 3) a Canaanite group who may or may not have been related to either or both of the Anatolian groups, and who also may or may not be identical with the later Neo-Hittite,Luwian polities.

Ancient World History

The Hittites were Indo-Europeans who entered Anatolia in approximately 2300 b.c.e. and in the following centuries managed to become one of the dominant powers of the ancient Near East. The word Hittite derives from their term for central Anatolia, hatti, which was derived from those who lived in the area before the Hittites, the Hattians.

Most of the information regarding the Hittites comes from thousands of clay tablets discovered in the Hittite capital of Hattusha. Three distinct Indo-European languages have been deciphered in these texts: Hittite, Luwian, and Palaic.

The texts were written in cuneiform and hieroglyphic scripts, and many words were borrowed from the local population and from surrounding nations. Hittite history is usually divided into the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom.

The Old Kingdom covered the period from 1750 to 1600 b.c.e., while the New Kingdom lasted c. 1420� b.c.e. The intervening period (c. 1600� b.c.e.) is sometimes referred to as the Middle Kingdom.

During the Old Kingdom the Hittites were able to achieve foreign expansion. First, during the reign of Hattushili I, the Hittite army campaigned to the west as far as Arzawa and to the southeast as far as northern Syria.

Second, during the reign of Murshili I, the army made the long march through Syria and into Babylonia, where they were able to overpower Babylon and bring to an end the first dynasty of Babylon (c. 1595 b.c.e.). However, during the reigns of Murshili’s successors, the kingdom seems to have lost control of lands to the east and southeast.

Hittite empire map

The founder and first ruler of the New Kingdom was Tudhaliya II (c. 1420� b.c.e.). Although he was able to revive the kingdom, it was not until the reigns of Shuppiluliuma I (c. 1344 b.c.e.), and Hattushili III (c. 1239 b.c.e.) that the Hittites were able to achieve their greatest foreign expansion.

They were able to expand the kingdom throughout all of Syria, defeating Mittani, and extending almost as far south as Damascus. Battles with the Egyptians, most famously the Battle at Kadesh, led to a treaty between Hattushili III and Ramses II in which a Hittite princess was given to Ramses in marriage.

Although the treaty with Egypt remained in force for the remainder of the Hittite New Kingdom, new threats arose that eventually led to the demise of the Hittites. Assyria under Shalmaneser I became aggressive toward the Hittites. In addition, various smaller nations surrounding the Hittite homeland began to pressure the Hittites militarily and economically.

Unfortunately, it is still impossible to tell the exact nature of the downfall of the Hittite capital Hattusha. What is clear is that limited Hittite rule continued in other areas, particularly Carchemish. These local centers were ruled by Neo-Hittite dynasties governing individual city-states. These city-states were eventually absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Hittite religion and cultic practices are becoming increasingly better known through archaeological excavations. Unfortunately, no mythological text in the old Hittite script has yet been discovered. However, one myth of west Semitic origin has been found in a Hittite translation.

It tells the story of the virtuous young male BaalHaddu refusing the advances of the married Asherah in a fashion reminiscent of the biblical account of Joseph and Potipher’s wife found in the book of Genesis. Cultic practices are illuminated in the various festival descriptions found in royal archives and in texts from provincial centers.

Much is known about these festivals, special times when the statue of the deity was brought out from the temple and honored with sacrifices and offerings given amid music and dancing. New moon festivals were held to mark the beginning of each new month.

Knowledge of ancient Near Eastern temples, including the Solomonic Temple of the Old Testament, is greatly advanced through the excavations of various Hittite temples.

At least five temples have been uncovered in the capital of Hattusha, and some estimate there to be as many as 20 present in the city. Every Hittite city had at least one temple staffed by both male and female personnel serving as cooks, musicians, artisans, farmers, and herders.

Volkswagen shares the history of the Beetle bud vase

Flower power! A daisy in the bud vase that was part of the 2001 New Beetle | Volkswagen photos

Editor’s note: Volkswagen of America shares the story of the bud vase in the Beetle

To understand how a small German sedan came to represent the “flower power” generation, maybe it’s because no vehicle was as known for floral displays quite like the Beetle and its dashboard bud vase.

The porcelain “blumenvasen” first appeared in the U.S. as an optional dealer accessory in the 1950s. Many of the bud vases were produced by high-end German porcelain manufacturers and could be clipped to the car’s dashboard, speaker grille or windshield. This provided owners with the opportunity to personally customize their cars and often displayed either real or fake flowers.

Beyond adding a little color and joy to daily car rides, the accessory was also a nod to the very early days of car driving. Automobile vases first started appearing in the late 1800s, not as an interesting novelty, but out of necessity. The vases, often filled with fresh, fragrant flowers, were used as air fresheners to help cover engine odors and the scent of passengers themselves in pre-air conditioned interiors.

The vases themselves quickly became decorative as well and were widely available in catalogs and hardware stores.

The New Beetle

Bud vases fell out of favor when the Beetle’s original U.S. sales run ended in 1978, but were brought back with the Beetle’s redesign in 1998. While the New Beetle’s standard package included many modern upgrades, it also included a three-inch acrylic version of the Bug’s signature vase.

The new Beetle, which sold 80,000 models in the U.S. in 1999, was advertised with slogans such as, “The engine is in the front, but the heart is in the same place” and “A work of art with side air bags and a bud vase.”

The inherent cuteness and quirkiness of the interior of the Bug and exterior design particularly appealed to women drivers and sales skewed 60 percent female.

The bud vase was dropped when the Beetle was redesigned in 2011, as air freshening was no longer a major concern and the Beetle itself took on a more gender-neutral mood.

However, bud vases are still hot options for classic Volkswagen Beetles, proving again that a touch of beauty never goes out of style.

Austrian vase made in early 1900s would fetch about $125 to $135 today

Q: Enclosed is a picture of a vase. It is 14 inches tall, 6 inches in diameter and is marked "Victoria-Carlsbad." I know that it is at least 75 years old. Could you please tell me something about its age and value?

A: Your vase was made in Carlsbad, Austria, by the Victoria porcelain factory between 1900 and 1915. It would probably sell for about $125 to $135.

Q: This mark is on the back of a blue and white 9-inch plate. Can you identify the maker and estimate the value of my plate?

A: "Scinde" is the name of a Flow Blue pattern it was made by Minton & Co. in Stoke, England, during the mid-19th century. Your plate would probably sell for $75 to $85.

Q: We bought an old coffee grinder at an auction for $110. It has two wheels and is marked "Landers, Frary & Clark No. 20." It is over 2 feet high and I think it was used in a store. Did we get a good buy? When was it made?

A: You got a bargain! Your counter-top coffee grinder was made about 1900 and would probably be worth $365 to $385 in good condition.

Q: We have a Mettlach 1/2 -liter stein the number is 1028. It looks like a tree trunk and has a grotesque face on the lid. Below the handle is a picture of a man and an inscription in German. Can you tell me anything about its vintage and value?

A: This stein was made in Mettlach, Germany, by Villeroy & Boch, during the late 1800s. It would probably sell for $325 to $335 in an antique shop.

Q: I have a Parker fountain pen. It is a "Blue Diamond Vacumatic" and is green with a black stripe. I would like to know when it was made and its current value.

A: Your Parker fountain pen was made about 1940 and would probably sell for about $35 to $45 in good condition.

Q: The mark on my plate is a picture of the world with the monogram "J.H." It is 8 inches in diameter and is decorated with a brilliantly colored bird against a background of varied greens and blues. Can you tell me anything about its origin and value?

A: The mark you describe was used by the Joseph Hildcroft Co. in Longton, England. It appears to be typical of the majolica they made in the late 1800s. Dealers are selling plates similar to this for $75 to $85.

Q: A friend told me that my old art deco dresser set is a collectible. It consists of hairbrush, hand mirror, covered box, button hook and manicure tool. It is decorated with geometric red and black plastic inserts. What is your opinion of my treasure?

A: Art deco style items are becoming very popular with collectors. Your dresser set was made in the 1920s and would probably sell for about $135 to $150 in good condition.

Q: I would like to know something about the value of my blue pressed glass pickle castor. It is in a silver-plated footed frame with a ribbed trim and a square handle. A pair of tongs hangs on one side. The frame is marked "Roger Bros. Mfg. Co."

A: It was made in Hartford, Conn., during the late 1800s and would probably sell for about $265 to $285.

Q: The mark on a small pitcher is a hound and a harp with "Belleek, Ireland." It is decorated with lilies of the valley.

A: Your Irish Belleek cream pitcher was made since 1965. It would probably sell for $90 to $100.

Discovering that rocks can melt.

The melting temperature of three metals, iron, copper, and tin, is at the heart of the Hittite discovery. Iron has a melting point of 1535 degrees C (about 2795 degrees F), copper melts at 1083 degrees C (about 1972 degrees F), and tin melts at 231.97 degrees C (about 422 F). In one sense, the history of metals involved two very simple, but separate ideas. The first was the discovery that solid rock would melt. The second was the development of a process capable of producing the temperatures at which ore would turn into liquid.

Tin may have represented the breakthrough metal. With a melting point of 232 degrees C, it probably was one of the earliest metals observed to liquefy. In terms of the smelting process itself, the temperature threshold would be relatively easy to achieve and sustain. Where or when such knowledge was first acquired would be difficult to pinpoint. There is evidence that it was first used in the Zagros Mountains of what is now western Iran after 3500 B.C.. Whether that knowledge moved west or was discovered independently, tin mining and smelting was occurring in southern Anatolia shortly after that. About 60 miles north of Tarsus is an ancient Anatolian village called G ö ltepe in the Taurus Mountains. While its population was small, at only 500 or 1,000 people, it had been occupied between 3290 B.C. and 1840 B.C.. Economic life revolved around a nearby tin mine. An extensive network of tunnels, some over a mile in length, had been dug into the mountain. (It may have been the scene of some of the earliest mining accidents, since the skeletons of children have been found there.)

The mining process at G ö ltepe began by heating the mine face. Fires would soften the ore so that it could be chiseled more easily. Once the ore had been hauled to the surface it was smelted. Smelting involved heating in small ceramic crucibles. Charcoal, which was layered between the tin ore, provided the heat source. Temperatures may have reached 2,000 degrees F, possibly achieved through the use of reed pipe "bellows."


Hittite religion and mythology were heavily influenced by their Hattic, Mesopotamian, and Hurrian counterparts. In earlier times, Indo-European elements may still be clearly discerned.

“Storm gods” were prominent in the Hittite pantheon. Tarhunt was referred to as “The Conqueror,” “The King of Kummiya,” “King of Heaven,” and “Lord of the land of Hatti.” As the god of battle and victory, especially against foreign powers, he was chief among the gods and was depicted as a bearded man astride two mountains and bearing a club.


Why did the Hittites and others migrate from Central Asia to Mesopotamia?

A- the needed more land for growing populations

B- they were enlarging their empire

C- the Persian army drove them out

D- climate change brought a mini ice age to Asia

My guess is D
But I am really unsure.

I don't think D is the best answer. Both A and B are better answers.

Go with whatever your book says.

Some of the Indo-European groups migrated
south and east. One group, the Aryans, settled in
present-day Iran. Later, some of the Aryans broke
away and migrated farther east, to India. Other
Indo-Europeans migrated west, toward Europe.
Among them were the Hittites, who settled in
Asia Minor. Another group, the Celts, kept mov-
ing through western Europe until they reached
the British Isles. The Irish of today are descended
from the Celts.
As the Indo-Europeans divided and moved
in different directions over vast distances, their
languages grew apart. But linguists say that these
languages belong to the same language family,
which includes the main languages spoken today
in Europe, Iran, and India. The family resem-
blances between words in hundreds of different
languages allow us see the routes of one of his-
tory’s great migrations.
Push and Pull Factors
Migrations are usually caused by what historians
factors. Push factors drive people
away from a place. Pull factors are what attract
them to another place.
The pull factor for the Indo-Europeans
became the wealthy cities of the settled south.
What was the push factor? It probably wasn’t some sudden catastrophe, since these migrations con-
tinued for about two thousand years. More than likely it was due to increasing population.
Instead of competing for pasture for their
herds, some clans roamed away in search of new
grazing grounds. They moved rapidly and far
because they may have been the first people to
domesticate and ride horses, perhaps as long ago
as 3500 B.C.
The Hittites
Sometime before 1700 B.C., the warlike Indo-Euro-
pean tribe, the Hittites, migrated into Asia Minor
and built their capital in the highlands. They knew
how to make iron, a secret they guarded closely
because it gave them a technological advantage
over their rivals. With their iron weapons, the Hit-
tites could win most battles. Hittite warriors drove
horse-drawn two-wheeled chariots, each of which
could carry three soldiers into battle—one to drive,
one to fight, and another to fight or shield his
comrades. Most chariots of this time carried only
two soldiers, so the Hittites had an edge.
In the sixteenth cen-
tury B.C., Hittite soldiers
marched to Babylon and
plundered the city. Later,
they built an empire
between the Black Sea and
the Syrian coast.
The Hittites were great
cultural borrowers. From
earlier inhabitants of Asia
Minor they learned to make
ceramic vases shaped like animals. From the Sumeri-ans they borrowed cunei-
form, which they adapted
to their own written lan-guage. They developed a
code of laws similar to Ham-murabi’s. Like the Mesopota-
mians, they decorated their public buildings with
rows of figures carved into rock. They worshipped
hundreds of gods because they accepted all the
local deities they came across.
Around 1275 B.C., the Hittites’ aggressive
empire building faltered when they battled to a
standstill against the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II.
(You’ll read more about him later in this chapter.)
Soon after that, Hittite power began to fade, in
part because by this time many other people had
learned how to make iron, so the Hittites no longer
had an advantage.
The Hittite Empire crumbled around 1200 B.C.,
although historians aren’t sure why. The Hittites
might have been conquered by a wave of invaders
from lands west of the Aegean Sea. These so-called Sea People were sacking many coastal cities at the
time. Because few records from the time exist, we
know little about the Sea People who toppled the
Hittite Empire.

Thanks for posting it. One of my answers is obviously right. Which is it? A or B?

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