Pair of "a bauletto" type earrings

CULTURE:
Etruscan
DATE:
second half of 6th century BCE
more object details

General Description

A baule or a bauletto means "little bag," and this Etruscan earring type earned its Italian name from its resemblance to a valise. An Etruscan design of the 6th century BCE, the basic form consists of a broad strip of gold bent into three-quarters of a cylinder. The two ends of the strip are joined by a wire or narrow band, which attached the cylinder to the ear. This wire is usually masked from the front by a decorative extension. The surfaces of the cylinder that were visible when the earring was worn are elaborately decorated. The hidden side is usually left plain or is less carefully decorated. These differences make it clear whether an earring was meant to be worn on the right ear or the left.

The front of each cylinder displays square panels of palmettes, lotus flowers, and ivy leaves, defined against a densely granulated background. A separately made ornament, consisting of a gold disk, a globule, tisted wire, and a coiled circlet, is attached to the center of each panel, while hollow bosses and ornamental wires form frames. The back features a simple pattern of repoussé lines and decorative wires. The suspension hook is missing from both pieces.

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), 35; 125.

Fun Facts

  • Jewelry was far more than merely ornament to the Etruscans; it was often close to being a magic charm or amulet and implied the protection of the gods.