September 10, 2009

jewelry: personal ornament

Appliqués, first half of 5th century
Eastern Germanic; Ukraine, Kerch
Gold sheet

"These delicate objects come from the Crimea in the Ukraine, where they adorned the grave clothing of eastern Germanic men and women buried there in the fifth century A.D. Sewn onto the sleeves and necklines of the garments, these appliqués are made from thin gold foil, which was punched and pressed to create various patterns. The decoration of festive and official attire with small gold appliqués had a long tradition in the Crimea. Ancient texts describe one third-century ruler of the Bosporan kingdom as wearing a robe decorated with several hundreds of them."

Headdress with leaf-shaped ornaments, 2600–2500 b.c.; Early Dynastic period IIIa; Sumerian style
Excavated at "King's Grave," Ur, Mesopotamia
Gold, lapis lazuli, carnelian
L. 15 3/16 in. (38.5 cm)

Baule earring, 6th century b.c.
Gold and enamel
Diam. 3/4 in. (2 cm)
"This earring represents one of the most common types in Etruscan jewelry but with exceptionally elaborate embellishment. The curved body consists of two metopes, both containing floral ornaments. The flower at the top was made separately and attached; the more stylized motif below was made of wire fused to the underlying surface. The very top of the object preserves two heads showing women wearing tiny disk earrings inlaid with enamel; there would have been a third. Immediately below is a band of tongues in alternating lighter and darker blue enamel. The whole conception is markedly architectonic, on the one hand, and executed with the most delicate means, on the other."

A pair of royal earrings, ca. 1st century b.c.
Probably Andhra Pradesh, India
Each H. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm), W. 3 in. (7.6 cm), L. 1 9/16 in. (4 cm)
Gift of The Kronos Collections, 1981 (1981.398.3-4)

"Each earring is composed of two rectangular, budlike forms growing outward from a central, double-stemmed tendril. The elephant and the lion of repoussé gold are consummately detailed, using granules, snippets of wire and sheet, and individually forged and hammered pieces of gold. The two pieces are not exactly identical: on the underside they are decorated with a classical early Indian design of a vase containing three palmettes, but the patterning of the fronds differentiates them."

Armlet, 1030
Gurgan, Iran

"Pre-Islamic forms can be seen in bracelets such as this one, indicating traditionalism in the production of jewelry. At the back of each of the four hemispheres around the clasp there is a flat disk of gold decorated by pouncing it over a coin; the four stones originally on the front are now missing. The twisted decoration probably derives from Greek bracelets; Byzantine jewelry often incorporated coins."

Ganymede jewelry
Greek, Hellenistic, ca. 330–300 B.C.
ength of necklace 13 in. (33 cm); H. of earrings 2 3/8 in. (6 cm); width of bracelets 3 1/8 in. (8 cm); width of fibulae 1 15/16 in. (5 cm); H. of ring 13/16 in. (2.1 cm)

Set of jewelry
Etruscan, Late Archaic, early 5th century B.C.
L. of necklace 14 3/16 in. (36 cm); D. of disks 2 7/16 in. (6.1 cm); L. of fibula 1 15/16 in. (5 cm); L. of fibulae 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm); L. of pin 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm); D. of ring with youth intaglio 7/8 in. (2.2 cm); D. of ring with Herakles intaglio 15/16 in. (2.4 cm); D. of ring with bird intaglio 1 1/16 in. (2.7 cm); D. of plain ring 31/32 (2.45 cm); D. of ring with lion intaglio 7/8 in. (2.2 cm)

(via MMA.)

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