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271 BABYLONIA- ARTS AND SCIENCES.

Ionian art has perished. This was pictorial enameling. It was practiced on the surface of

glazed bricks. The almost universal decay of the great walls and bastions and buttresses

of the palaces and temples has carried down to' dust the artistic designs with which they

were embellished. The ancient historians bear record to the striking and beautiful effects

which were achieved in the surface decorations of the public and private buildings of

Babylon, but the actual evidence has crumbled away and the antiquary is put at fault. What

is known with respect to these remarkable pictorial representations is that their subjects

were selected chiefly from battle and the chase, and that nearly all conspicuous buildings

were distinguished by their presence. Just as the artistic sense of the Assyrians found

expression in the abundant sculptures of Nineveh and Calah, so the taste of the

Babylonians sought and found gratification in the colored designs of enameled walls. The

prophet Ezekiel speaks only common fame when he refers to the image of the Chaldaeans,

portrayed upon the walls with vermilion." He also describes the pictures thereon as being

"girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of

them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldaea, the land of

their nativity." He further says that as soon as Aholibah saw these images she doted upon

them, and sent messengers into Chaldaea. Such was the influence of these striking pictures

upon those who visited the great city. All the facts in the case go to show that according

to the then standards of art criticism the enameled pictures on the walls of Babylonian

buildings were of a high degree of excellence. The known skill of the Assyrians in

sculpture at a much earlier date, as well as the kinship and similar tastes and activities

of the two peoples, render it inherently probable that the Babylonian artists achieved

with the brush something of the same distinction attained by their northern rivals with

the chisel.

In the application of color the Babylonians seem to have followed nature. The

tints most employed were white, blue, yellow, brown, and black. Red was not much used.

These colors were distributed to different objects according to the fitness of things.

Water was represented with pale blue, and the earth with a shade of yellow. Lions were

painted a tawny hue, and spear-heads black.

Chemical analysis shows that the pigments employed on the decorated walls were essentially

the same as those used by modern artists. The yellow was principally an oxide of iron; the

blue was produced by the oxidation of cobalt or copper. The red was a sub-oxide of the

last-named metal. The yellow was sometimes the antimoniate of lead.

The designs were painted on the surface of brick walls before the glazing was applied. Or,

if the bricks were glazed before they were laid, then the design was laid on with

reference to the position which the bricks should occupy in the structure. The latter

supposition is borne out by the fact that the bricks were so laid, and indeed so made, as

to give the figure represented on the surface a raised character, like that attained in

bag-relief. This indicates no little skill in both the artist and the artisan. The effect

could only have been reached by modeling a large mass of clay with the desired figure in

the surface, and then cutting the same into bricks to be afterwards set in the same

relative position in the wall.

In the matter of metallurgy the Babylonians had considerable attainments. Of the precious

metals, gold and silver were abundantly employed. Of these were made the vessels and

utensils of the palace and the temple. The chief of the baser metals were iron and lead.

The alloy, known as bronze, was more important than either. Of this were made the

magnificent gates and doors for which the great buildings of Babylon were famous. The art

of casting metals was well known. The golden images found about the temple altars and

shrines were generally cast in a mould. Sometimes, however, the idol was of baser stuff,

plated with the precious metal. The silver statuettes were in like