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Toshihiro Osada (ed.),
The Parthenon Frieze.
The Ritual Communication between Goddess and the Polis
Parthenon Project Japan 2011-2014
175 pp., num. b/w-figs., 25,7 x 18,2 cm; softcover
After rapid achievements in politics, economy and culture, the citizens of fifth century Athens should, according to Thucydides, have been so proud of their city that they considered it worthy of a school for the whole Greek poleis. Perikles, who led the building of the Parthenon, should have stated that their polis deserved to be a model to follow. Recent scholarship has often interpreted the Parthenon Frieze as reflecting such public opinions of the Athenian citizens. The temple with its sculpture, which was surely built in accordance with the general consensus of the whole citizen, has frequently been considered the embodiment of the civic culture and its proud social institute.
The articles of R. Nakamura, Osada, Sakurai, Shinozuka concerns this current interpretation of the frieze. Regarding the context of the religious culture as backdrop, they rather challenge the methods which see the Greek art as a projection of contemporary “recognition” and “ideology”. Built in the midst of the Polis, the temple embodied the honour of the community, but the Parthenon was deemed as an agalma, or dedication, by citizens, whose purpose was first of all to please the deities.
The articles of Mizuta, T. Nakamura, and Tanaka, discuss about the representations of the girls and horsemen on the frieze sculpture, while A. Moroo considers the problem in the broader historical perspective. Using the historical and religious context as the key of interpretation, they each explore the methods of embedding an example in the history.
The Parthenon Project Japan was began by A. Mizuta from 1994 till 1996, the research was brought to fruition in: A. Mizuta, ed., Iconographic and Stylistic Observations on the Parthenon Frieze. Parthenon Project Japan 1994-1996 (Tokyo 2001). The project was succeeded as the second one 2007 to 2009, and the third one 2011 to 2014. The papers in this volume are based on the results of this third project.