Funerary ornament (kneecap?)

Unknown"early 8th c. BC" - ""

Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art
Athens, Greece

Sheet-gold ornament in the shape of an inverted Y. It bears impressed representations of warriors bearing helmets, spears and shields. The warriors are surrounded by circular and wheeled motifs. The decoration is arranged in metopic fashion, each scene being separated by thin relief lines. The (wooden?) matrix used for embossing the decorative scenes was probably intended for larger objects, judging by the way in which several motifs are cut off abruptly. The precise function of the ornament is not known, although it is probable that it was used as a kneecap. The two small holes on the lower extremities were apparently for sewing onto a garment (the same may be true for the two crescent-shaped openings on the upper end). The delicate construction of the item suggests that it was made exclusively for funerary use. The object belongs to a group of Geometric gold ornaments with representations of warriors from Skyros, currently exhibited on the Museum of Cycladic Art. The style of those ornaments reveals relations with Euboean workshops (Lefkandi, Eretria), although their iconography is unique and can be compared only with Attic vase-painting of the Late Geometric period (760-700 BC). The precious material and the unusual decoration suggest that these ornaments were burial gifts to dead warriors of aristocratic lineage.


  • Title: Funerary ornament (kneecap?)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: "early 8th c. BC" - ""
  • Read more: <a href="http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=resource&cresrc=1324&cnode=55&clang=1">Read more</a>
  • Provenance: Skyros, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: w93 x h110 mm
  • Period: Geometric period
  • Culture: Greek
  • Type: kneecap?
  • Rights: N.P. Goulandris Foundation - Museum of Cycladic Art, N.P. Goulandis Collection, no. 604, http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=NODE&cnode=25&clang=1
  • External Link: Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece
  • Medium: gold

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