Pair of earrings

late 4th century BCE
more object details

General Description

In contrast to Greek animal-head earrings (1991.75.62.a-b, 1991.75.63.a-b) created in the late 4th century BCE, the equally popular pendant earrings already had a long history by that time. The earliest examples date to the 6th century BCE. In the 4th century BCE, when the type enjoyed its principal vogue, pieces became more and more elaborate and enriched. During the following two centuries, the basic scheme remained unchanged: a decorative disk hides the ear wire and supports a pointed pendant. This simple scheme allowed numerous elaborations.

In this example, the disk is decorated with a separately made frontal representation of a head with snaky curls and a diadem. An outer border of decorative wires includes a herringbone pattern and beaded edging. The outer edge is reinforced by a strip of sheet gold with vertical and horizontal ribbing. Attached to the back of each disk is a simple wire hoop, one end of which is flattened and shaped as an ivy leaf. The lateral chain pendants are held by circular loops attached to matching loops that are soldered to the back of the disk. The chains terminate in a rosette and a drop-shaped, ribbed pendant. A few granules decorate one ribbed pendant.

With its finely worked lateral chains flanking an inverted pyramid pendant, this pair is still very much in the late Classical tradition of the late 4th century BCE.

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, 134.