Necklace

CULTURE:
Greek
DATE:
2nd century BCE
more object details

General Description

The cord-like loop-in-loop chain of this ancient Greek necklace terminates at both ends in a molded cylinder to which a separately made finial is attached. Each finial is shaped as the bridled head of a gazelle and probably held a large bead, no longer existing. A hook and eye are underneath the heads. Small punch marks indicate the animal's fur; the eyes are inlaid with white glass beads with a black dot in the center. The horns are made separately from beaded wire, the ears from sheet gold. A small circular setting on the front, originally enameled, holds the bridle, made from herringbone wire.

Necklaces of this type were generally provided with a centerpiece that formed the actual closure. In antiquity, antelopes, gazelles, and fawns were the animals most commonly associated with Eros' biga, or chariot. The harnessed gazelle-heads so commonly encountered in Greek jewelry are probably an erotic allusion.

Drawn 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), 137-138.
  • Herbert Hoffmann and Patricia F. Davidson, Greek Gold: Jewelry from the Age of Alexander, (Mainz/Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1965), 135.