Pair of earrings with lion heads

early 5th century BCE
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General Description

Hoop earrings are perhaps less spectacular than a bauletto earrings (1991.75.13.a-b) or ear studs (1991.75.20), but they had a long life in Etruria. Each earring in this pair consists of a curved hollow tube, one end terminating in a lion's head with decorative mane, the other in a hollow knob. Attached along the length of the tube are three rows of twisted wire - one row on each side of the earring and one on the top. A wire ring around the tube forms a base for the knob. The earrings are slightly damaged in places.

The repoussé work of the lions' heads and manes suggests that these earrings may have originated in the same workshop as three late Archaic lion rings in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection (1991.75.26, 1991.75.25, 1991.75.24).

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), 36; 126.

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.