Pair of ear pendants with Erotes

CULTURE:
Greek
DATE:
2nd–1st century BCE
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General Description

Human figures had been used continuously by Greek goldsmiths as a decorative motif since the 7th century BCE. These ear pendants with standing Erotes represent the latest stage of this development. Although they are still charming, it is obvious that the freshness and the lively movement of earlier pieces have been replaced by an ornamental pose.

The rosette and the standing figure of an Eros, rendered in repoussé, are the ornaments of these earrings. The petals of the rosette are edged with twisted wire; a large cabochon garnet is set in the center, held by a serrated setting. An ear wire is attached to the back. The Eros figure is made in two parts, a flat back and a relief front. The large curved wings are made separately; the feathers are indicated by ribbing. A rectangular strip of sheet gold, set behind the back of the rosette, joins the tops of both wings, allowing the rather fragile construction to stay in place. The figure's feet and legs are parallel, and the arms are bent, with the hands resting on the hips. Three granules indicate the genitals. A bandolier made of herringbone wire is draped over the body, and a circular disk- missing on one piece- is placed in the center of the chest.

Adapted from

  • Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 64, 135.