You may have read about the recent discovery of a bit of animation on an ancient Iranian goblet, said to be the first recorded example of man-made animation. The article that’s been making the rounds (I first saw it on Cartoon Brew, it was also on Boing Boing the other day) can be found here.
Here are the important bits for those too lazy to click through to the article:
“An animated piece on an earthen goblet that belongs to 5000 years ago was found in Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchistan province, southeastern Iran.”
“The earthenware found in Burnt City, one of the most developed civilizations dating back to 5000 years ago, show the images of goat and fish more than any other subject. It seems these animals were used more than any other by the people of this city.”
“On this goblet, with a diameter of 8 cm and height of 10 cm, the images show movement in an intricate way that is an unprecedented discovery. Some earthenware found in Burnt City show repetitive images, but none of them implicate any movements.”
“While excavating the grave in which the cream-colored goblet has been found, we came across a skeleton that probably belongs to the creator of this piece”, Mansour Sajjadi, the Iranian archaeologist responsible for excavations in Burnt City told CHN.
At the end of the article, there’s a link to a short .avi that the archaeologists put together to show off the animation. You can view that file here. Unfortunately, they chose to keep each frame on-screen for three seconds, and then crossfade into the next frame. Anyone familiar with the principles of animation will see that this presentation completely defeats the purpose of the sequential images.
I was pretty excited to see the first example of animation, so I was understandably disappointed with the video file offered with the article. I wanted to see the animation as it was intended, so I took the .avi and edited it down into the animated gif below. E-Archaeology.
There aren’t any photos of the actual goblet itself in the article, so I assumed that the illustrations stretched around the sides of the goblet and were intended to be viewed by spinning the goblet, which implies looping. This is what I do with my free time.