Gold falcon


British Museum

British Museum

Although this falcon was found in Crete, it is very Egyptian-looking in style and technique. Falcons were important in Egyptian symbolism: the sun-god Re was represented above all as a falcon, the perfect symbol of power in the sunlit skies of Egypt. The wings originally had an inlay: faint traces have been identified as diopside, a semi-precious stone. It is possible that the bird was originally part of a larger and more elaborate piece of jewellery, perhaps occupying the corner of an Egyptian pectoral (chest) ornament of roughly rectangular shape. A small, rough hole at the top of the bird's back, and two neat holes through the tip of the talon and the right wing were perhaps for attachment. However, the holes may have been made to adapt the piece, perhaps as a pendant, and this work may have been done in Crete. It has also been suggested that the style of the head is not Egyptian, so it could be a Minoan work heavily influenced by Egyptian jewellery. In either case it is evidence of contacts and artistic exchanges between the two areas at the time.

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  • Title: Gold falcon
  • Date Created: -1700/-1550
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 4.00cm; Height: 2.10cm; Weight: 45.50grains
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: inlaid
  • Subject: bird
  • Registration number: 1876,1120.2
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Crete
  • Period/culture: Minoan
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Petrides, D N


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