Gold sheet ornament

Unknown"8th c. BC" - ""

Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art

Gold-sheet ornament of funerary use. It has been impressed on a wooden or clay matrix in the shape of a warrior with helmet, spear and "figure-of-eight" shield. The incomplete meander motifs on the upper and lower right corners suggest that the matrix was originally intended for larger objects. The small holes on the narrow sides suggest that it was sewn onto the garment of the deceased. The gold ornament formed part of a pair found in a Geometric grave on the island of Skyros. Gold-sheet ornaments are known from several Greek burials of the Protogeometric period (11th-9th c. BC). However, pictorial representations of that type were rare before the mid-9th c. BC. This ornament dates to the 8th c. BC, when depictions of warriors became common in Greece not only on jewellery but also on vase-painting and other artistic media. According to some scholars, this phenomenon may reflect the rise of a "heroic ethos" in Greek society, under the stong influence of the Homeric poems which praised the military achievements of Mycenaean ancestors. It has been suggested that the shield depicted on this ornament belongs to a Mycenaean type (the well-known "figure-of-eight" shield), which was out of use in the 8th c. BC. If this is true, then the ornament should be seen as a clear allusion to a heroic past.

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  • Title: Gold sheet ornament
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: "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: w22 x h65 mm
  • Period: Geometric period
  • Culture: Greek
  • Type: plaque
  • Rights: N.P. Goulandris Foundation - Museum of Cycladic Art, N.P. Goulandis Collection, no. 607, 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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