Loading

Gold griffin-headed armlet from the Oxus treasure

-499/-300

British Museum

British Museum

This gold bracelet is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. There is a companion piece in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The bracelets are similar to objects being brought as tribute on reliefs at the Persian centre of Persepolis. The Greek writer Xenophon (born around 430 BC) tells us that armlets were among the items considered as gifts of honour at the Persian court. The hollow spaces would have contained inlays of glass or semi-precious stones. The bracelets are typical of the Achaemenid Persian court style of the fifth to fourth century BC.

The companion piece, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, was bought by Captain F.C. Burton when he rescued a group of merchants who had been captured by bandits on the road from Kabul to Peshawar. They were carrying with them the Oxus treasure, which Burton helped them to recover, and so they allowed him to buy this bracelet before going on to sell the remainder of the pieces in Rawalpindi. It was from the bazaars of India that other pieces of the Treasure emerged, reaching the British Museum by a circuitous route.

Show lessRead more

Details

  • Title: Gold griffin-headed armlet from the Oxus treasure
  • Date Created: -499/-300
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 11.57cm; Height: 12.30cm; Thickness: 2.61cm (at horns); Weight: 396.50g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: chiselled; chased; inlaid; applied
  • Subject: griffin
  • Registration number: 1897,1231.116
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Takht-i Kuwad
  • Period/culture: Achaemenid
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Franks, Augustus Wollaston. Previous owner/ex-collection Cunningham, Alexander. From Burton, Francis Charles

Recommended

Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile