Necklace

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

General Description

The typological counterpart to ancient Greek animal-head earrings [1991.75.83.a-b, 1991.75.62.a-b, 1991.75.63.a-b] are necklaces terminating in finials shaped as animals' heads. There are several examples dating to the 2nd century BCE. in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art; the chains of this necklace and of an elephant-head necklace [1991.75.79] are composed of globular beads made from gold and colored precious or semiprecious stones. These multicolored chains illustrate a fundamental change in Greek jewelry during the 2nd century BCE: colored effects were no longer applied only to enhance naturalistic decorative motifs and details such as the petals of a flower or the eye of an animal; they were now used in their own right. The bright colors of precious stones were set off against the warm shades of the gold. Although naturalistic motifs continued to be used, they were no longer the preeminent factor in Greek jewelry. The abstract combination of different materials and colors became more and more important.

This necklace features lynx-heads finials at both ends of this necklace, which consists of seventeen hollow gold beads and seventeen beads of identical shape and size in green, white, and reddish brown glass. The finials are fitted with a hook and eye underneath the heads. The openings of the gold beads are reinforced with plain and twisted wires and a few granules, while each glass bead is held by a pair of rosette-shaped settings. In an alternating order, the beads are threaded on double-wire loops. The eyes of the lynxes' heads are inlaid with white and brown glass. The main element of each of the two collars that join the finials and the chain is a large globular bead made from green glass. Behind the lynx's head, the bead is held by a cylindrical cuff made from plain sheet gold; a rosette-shaped setting, missing at one end, attached the bead to the chain. Such necklaces were probably worn with the finials on the wearer’s chest to display these fine sculptural attachments.

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), 65; 137.
  • Anne Bromberg, "Elephant-head necklace," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press, 1997), 30.
  • DMA unpublished material.