Nov 5, 2014


Rezan Has Museum

As it has approximately 2,000 archaeological objects in its collection, Rezan Has Museum opened a unique and special exhibition. 1,100 recently restored pieces of Urartian Jewellery went on view to the public at the museum.  The exhibition, which is considered one of the most comprehensive in the world, consists of pieces such as jewelleries and belts that sentiment as favour, vanity and wealth. These two main groups of the exhibition are also important pieces in the way that they are the primary elements determining social status for centuries in Urartians.

The exhibition displayed a broad variety of jewellery that belonged to the Urartian Kingdom, a unique civilisation of Anatolia. The collection included pins, rings, earrings, bracelets, fibulas, belts and belt pieces, votive plaques, armbands, neck collars, necklaces, hair spirals and pectorals which are belonged to the mid-ninth century B.C.E.

There is also an interactive screen located in the Museum through which, collection catalogues and artefact photographs can observed in a detailed way.  The screen also provides fun puzzles and matching games.

3D film revitalizes an Urartian citadel is also worth to watch. 

Rezan Has Museum The Urartian Jewellery Collection Documentation, Examination and Conservation.

Wide Belts 
It is not yet known whether other civilizations of the 1st thousand BCE used metal belts in the Near East as intensively as the Urartians did. Excavations of Urartian tombs and fortresses have uncovered hundreds of belts made of bronze. The 74 Urartian belts to be found in the Rezan Has Museum’s collection can be principally divided into three groups: narrow, medium and wide. The wide belts vary between 13 cm and 18 cm in width and 90 cm and 120 cm in length.   The wide and medium sized belts were generally used by men. The bronze belts decorated with various ornamentation are thought to have been produced in the royal workshops. These belts engraved with scenes of cults and ceremonies provide us with important information on the system of the Urartian army, the weapons it used and the existence of military classes, such as chariot troops, infantry and cavalry. This is a bronze "Wide Belt With Cult and Ceremonical Scenes.". A ceremonial scene is depicted on the surface. Two superimposed foot soldiers are depicted at the left end, and behind them follow three rows of horsemen, war chariots behind the horsemen and two further rows of horseman and war chariots. The cavalry are depicted at a gallop, with shields and spears. The horses in the chariots are depicted with one leg extended forward and the other static. Two people are standing on the war chariots. One is holding the bridle and the other is in the sacred hailing pose, extending his arms horizontally forming a V-shape.

The figures of the bronze belt include fantastic creatures, bulls, and lions, foot soldiers shooting arrows and hunting chariots proceed toward each end from the center of the belt.

Surface of the bronze belt with a hunting scene, is divided into four registers. An equestrian on a running horse, lions and bulls are depicted. Rose rosettes and sacred trees are placed alternately among the figures.

Medium-Sized Belts 
Urartian belts are divided into three main groups: narrow, medium sized and wide examples. This division is made based on the width of the belts. It is also possible to group Urartian belts according to the gender of the people who wore them. In this sense, the decoration on belts differs by gender as well. Lion and bull decorations are seen mostly on the wide and medium sized belts, which were used by men. These figures are not encountered on the narrow belts used by women. In addition to this, figures such as sheep, fish and water birds that were used on narrow belts do not appear on wide and medium-sized belts. In addition, on wide and medium sized belts, it is unlikely to see feasting scenes with the figure of a queen/goddess (?) in the middle, who sits on a backed throne at the central point of the feasting scene with female figures that are serving and bringing various gifts to this figure. This is a "Medium Sized Belt With Hunting Scenes." The figures were generally arranged symmetrically. The figures and cavalry on the hunter vehicle hunt mythological creatures as well as lion and bull. Three winged divine figures with hunting equipment are placed on top of each other at the left end of the belt. A total of 99 figures are depicted in 33 successive columns on the belt. There is a loop-shaped buckle at the right end of the belt.

Hunting scene is depicted on the surface. Ancient repair marks on the right section. Chariots, horsemen shooting arrows, foot soldiers bent at the knees and shooting arrows, lions, bulls and mythological creatures are the figures. Bronze.

A hunting scene of mythological creatures is depicted. Three lions in walking pose are placed inside a panel at the right end. Ancient repair marks are detected. A loop-shaped belt buckle on the right end. Bronze.

There is a hunting scene on the surface with the figures including horsemen shooting arrows, lions and bulls. The figures are placed on the same axis in columns, three times, successively. Bronze.

War scened bronze belt fragment. Both the horseman and the enemy soldier underneath the cavalry horse are depicted wounded. The soldiers are depicted bearded.

Two reinforcement panels belonging to a single belt. The smaller one has eagle figures and a bird-bodied, human-headed mythological creature. A lion with an open mouth is depicted in the horizontal rectangular panel on the right. Bronze.

Bronze belt fragment with the motifs of rosettes and a deity figure that is standing on a bull.

Medium-Sized bronze belt with diagonal decoration. Lions, bulls, mountain goats, fantastic creatures and geometric groups are the decorational figures of the belt.

The surface of the belt is decorated by eight horizontal bands composed of embossed dots. The belt was repaired during the time in use. Bronze.

Zigzag decorated bronze belt. There are repair marks from the period the belt was in use.

Spiral decorated bronze belt. The surface is decorated with interconnected spirals. Four walking lions are placed inside a rectangular panel.

Undecorated medium-sized bronze belt.

Narrow Belts
The width of narrow belts varies between 5.5/6 cm. and 8 cm and the length is between 60 cm and 90 cm. In contrast with the wide and medium sized belts, there are no string holes on the exterior border of narrow belts. This shows that the interior side didn’t cover a leather or woven lining. Narrow belts are different from wide and medium sized belts with their decoration, figural motifs and themes, as well as this technical data. While the figures on wide and medium-sized belts range from the center to the ends in a symmetric manner, the arrangement on narrow belts is usually from the ends to the center. Female figures, goats, sheep, fish and water birds, which are occasionally seen on wide and medium-sized belts, are depicted as part of the main scene. On narrow belts, a feasting scene which occurs in an open air situation usually takes place. In the center of a belt which was designed like this, sometimes in a space arranged with two-registers, a female figure (queen/goddess ?) who is sitting on a throne behind a table which is full of food and a dozen maids who are serving and bringing presents from two directions are seen. Also, scenes such as the entertainment of women playing instruments, acrobats and musicians, sacred offering scenes, castle depictions, weaving looms, weaving women, the figures of sheep, goats, fish and birds in series are seen. Besides this, it is possible to see lines of sprouts, which decorated the whole surface of wide and medium-sized belts, on narrow belts decorating the whole surface. Flat examples also exist, as well as the ones decorated with geometric and floral motifs and figures. This is a narrow belt with a banquet scene. The middle fragment of a bronze belt. A band of sprouts oriented back to back, interconnected with bow-shaped lines and bordered by a line of interlocking small loops runs along the outer border and the panels of the belt. Four fish figures are depicted in each of two horizontal panels placed on top of each other. In the main panel in the middle, a female figure is sitting on a throne with a backrest. A standing female figure is serving the seated individual. The seated figure is lifting the cup she is holding in both hands. The standing figure is presenting the object she is holding to the seated woman. Three walking bird figures are depicted in the panel on the left.

Narrow bronze belt with banquet scene. In the panel on the middle fragment, a female figure wearing a headscarf is sitting on a throne and the others are serving her.

Dragon-Headed bronze bracelet. The preference for lion, snake and dragon heads in the bracelets widely used in Urartian culture is perceived as an indicator of force and power and it is also important in the sense that the gods were sacred animals. They also might have determined the social status of the people wearing them. In addition to their aesthetic appearance, the various forms of bracelets must have been worn with the belief in their protective powers. With the placement of the bracelets in graves as grave goods, they were intended to continue their protective powers into the afterlife.

Bronze bracelet of which both two ends terminate as dragon heads.

Calf-Headed bronze bracelet.

Rings and earring attached to dragon-headed bronze bracelet.

Snake-headed bronze bracelet.

Bronze clamped bracelet.

Ribbed bracelet. Bronze and gold plating.

Ribbed bracelet. Bronze.

Fruit-Headed bracelet. Silver.

Dragon-headed bracelet. Bronze.

Earrings are remarkable among Urartian jewelry in terms of their forms and decorations. They are made of gold, silver, lead and especially bronze. They are generally plain loops or crescent and boat-shaped pieces with suspensions. The plain loops have variations, such as open ended, overlapping ends, beaded/nodular and boat-shaped types. The earrings with suspensions have variations such as pyramidal, conical and pendant-shaped types. Among these, the boat-shaped earrings are the most commonly used form in the Urartian period and the most sought-after type in the Near East, from the 3rd millennium BC onward. Earrings are also emphasized in Urartian visual arts, in addition to the excavation data. Earrings were popularly used by the 1st millennium BC cultures and were worn by both men and women in Urartu. In addition to plain earrings, Urartians produced earrings with a granulation technique, which is extremely demanding work. Earrings with suspensions are produced by hanging pendants of various forms on loop or boat-shaped earrings. 

Silver earrings. Plain loop form.

Bronze earrings. Plain loop form.

Boat-Shaped earrings. Bronze.

Bronze earrings with a plain body and round cross-section. A wire is wound round the body of the earring. One tip is bent backwards and forms a loop while the other is gets into this tip.

Earrings with pendulum. Golden.

Earrings with pendulum. Silver.

Plain ring-shaped earring group with overlapping ends. Bronze.

Hair Spirals
Hair spirals have overlapping ends. Their sizes are similar to the sizes of rings or slightly bigger. However, they differ from rings by their open ends. Urartian hair spirals can be divided into plain, decorated or attached types. They are mostly made of gold, silver and bronze and are made by forging. Their cross-section is round in shape and their ends were left plain or sometimes pointed. In some examples, a thin metal wire is wound to attach their ends to the hair. Hair spirals might have been used in order to make curls or adorn hair ends, like modern curlers. Another possibility is that they might have been worn on the ends of braided hair as a decorative accessory or in order to prevent it from getting loose. Spirals are placed at the ends of its shoulder-length hair. Hair spirals were mostly worn by women, as seen from examples above. However, the data shows that they were also worn by men. Visual arts showing that both men and women used hair spirals in Urartu and contemporary cultures are present in the 1st millennium BC in the Near East. 

Plain hair spiral. Hair spirals have overlapping ends. Their sizes are similar to the sizes of rings or slightly bigger. However, they differ from rings by their open ends. Urartian hair spirals can be divided into plain, decorated or attached types. They are mostly made of gold, silver and bronze and are made by forging. Hair spirals might have been used in order to make curls or adorn hair ends, like modern curlers.

Plain hair spiral. Silver.

Silver hair spiral with the end of the spiral is made with a thinner wire. Cross-section is round in shape. One end has a coil and it terminates with a flat volute.

Fibulae, which can be seen as modern safety pins, are composed of a pin and a spring. Depictions on reliefs, terra-cotta and painted pots, as well as the archaeological data, indicate that fibulae were attached to clothes, on the shoulder, hip, arm and wrist. They were used both for decoration and for attaching cloth edges together. Bead necklaces or chains were suspended from them for decorative purposes. Make-up utensils or seals were also affixed to fibulae. It is generally accepted that fibulae have religious meanings. They were used for their religious power in daily life and they were placed in tombs to banish evil spirits in the afterlife. Fibulae were also used in the enshrouding of the dead. Fibulae were included in the Urartian jewelry repertoire due to the impact of the Phrygians in the second half of the 8th century BCE and were widely used. We know that they were used widely, due to fibulae unearthed in several excavations conducted at Urartian centers. Urartian fibulae are generally plain, however decorated examples also exist. The decorations may be incised lines or parallel grooves on the body. Fibulae with grooves on the body were widely used by the Urartians. The pin and the body are joined in various forms. In some examples, the pin’s wire is joined to one or more of the body branches by coiling. In this type of fibula, the head of the branch where the pin is coiled is made in the shape of a mushroom to prevent the pin from sliding. In other examples, the end of the wire that joins to the body is bent to form a spiral. A third type of joining technique in Urartian fibulae is seen in the example in which the pin is directly bent. Although there are different techniques for joining the pin with the body, fibulae with similar forms are seen in all the different groups.      

Bronze fibula with triangular decorated body. Two earrings are attached to the body.

Fibula with triangular plain body. Bronze.

Fibula with bow-shaped body. Bronze.

Bronze u-shaped fibula. The body is U-shaped and has a rounded cross-section. It is plain and undecorated.

The abundance of rings found in excavations in Urartian centers indicates that Urartian society used rings intensively in daily life. In addition to simple and plain examples, decorated rings with snake and dragon heads, as seen in bracelets, decorative pins and amulets, recalls religious functions in addition to aesthetic concerns. The use of similar figures such as dragon and snake heads on rings, bracelets and arm bands, recalls modern jewelry sets. Groups of rings attached together as chains were among the finds.It is difficult to guess for what purpose they were arranged together in this fashion. However, the owner of the rings might have wanted to collect all the rings he/she had used throughout his/her life. The different sizes of rings, appropriate for both children and adults, found within the same chain supports this argument. Bracelets, arm bands, earrings and spirals arranged in a similar way were encountered in the studies we conducted in various museums.  

Snake-Headed ring. Silver.

Bronze ring with blunt ends has a flat cross-section.

Plain loop-shaped ring. Golden.

Dragon-headed ring. Silver.

A group of bronze rings.

Neck Rings
Neck rings are named “ring necklaces” or “torques” in some publications, and are placed within the class of neckbands. These accessories are worn without attaching the ends. They are made of silver, bronze and iron, and were regarded as female jewelry. The differences in the diameters of the rings suggest that they were used by women of various ages. 

Open Ended Snake-Headed Neck Ring. Silver. The plain end is thinner. The body gets thicker towards the snake-headed end. The head of the snake has a blunt end and its back is crisscrossed resembling a herringbone pattern. The inner and side parts of the same area are decorated with dots resembling snakeskin.

Open Ended Spiral-Shaped Circular Cross-Sectioned Neck Ring. Bronze. Neck rings are made of silver, bronze and iron, and were regarded as female jewellery. The differences in the diameters of the rings suggest that they were used by women of various ages.

Open ended bronze neck ring with a flat cross-section.

Pectorals are rare among Urartian jewelry. They are generally made of bronze. A few examples made of silver, gold-plated silver and gold also exist. They are crescent-like in shape, with rings on both sides for suspension. They are evaluated as personal decorative objects, but they are also indicators of class and status in Urartian society, as well as decorative elements complementing a garment. Pectorals usually bear religious scenes. At the center of the pectorals are figures in the sacred hailing pose, winged creatures carrying cauldrons (buckets), the sacred tree or scenes of its fertilization, lions, bulls and mixed creatures. Examples with floral and geometric motifs are also found. 
Ornamental Pin
Bronze Sphinx Figured Pin. Urartians developed and diversified the earlier tradition of decorative pins and added new products to the repertoire. Urartian decorative pins are generally cast. Bronze is the most preferred metal, followed by silver, gold, gold-plate and bone.. Decorative pins constitute an important group among Urartian jewelry types. Decorative metal pins were unearthed in Early Iron Age graves at Van-Karagündüz , Ernis and Dilkaya, located in the central area of the Urartian Kingdom. Urartians developed and diversified the earlier tradition of decorative pins and added new products to the repertoire. Urartian decorative pins are generally cast. Bronze is the most preferred metal, followed by silver, gold, gold-plate and bone. Figures include animals such as lions, bulls, goats, eagles, cocks and ducks, as well as mythological creatures. The number of figures on the crowns may vary between one and four. They were shown sitting side by side, standing alone or back to back. Pin heads with floral or fruit motifs mostly feature poppies. It appears that the carefully worked pins were mostly worn by Urartian women on the head or the chest. Decorative pins were found in situ at Giriktepe around the head of a female skeleton , at Karagündüz around the chest of a female skeleton and at Van-Kalecik around the head and chest of female skeletons. Motifs like poppies and pomegranates seen on the pin heads were applied in a style that is similar to the examples on the branches of the sacred tree, which we often encounter in Urartian visual arts. In addition to decoration, pins also carried religious functions. Decorative pins were also worn as amulets. Bead suspensions were attached to pins to increase their protective power.

Plain Heel-Shaped Headed Pin. Silver and golden.

Dome-shaped crowned pin. Bronze.

Double animal-headed pin. Bronze.

Single animal figured pin. Bronze.

Ornamental pin with a head shaped as twin-bastions. Bronze.

Single animal-headed pin. Bronze.

Single animal figured pin. Golden.

Bead necklace composed of carnelian beads. Beads are usually made of agate and carnelian, as well as magnesite, anthracite, chalcedony, calcite, serpentine, bone, frit, faience, glass, gold and bronze. They occur in the shape of cylinders, spheres, pipes, long barrels, ellipses, reels, spirals, with suspensions, convex biconical shapes, triangles, flat hexagons, flat spheres, animal heads and complete animals.

Necklace composed of carnelian and glass beads.

Necklace composed of bronze beads.

Necklace composed of agate beads.

Bronze Oval Triangular Amulet. Amulets are generally made of stone or bronze. Urartians used many objects for adornment and as amulets, such as precious stones, metals and animal teeth. Amulets must have been used in order to protect the people who wore them against evil in Urartian culture.

Stone amulet in the form of a rectangular prism has a ring at the top for overhanging.

Amulet made of bone with incised figures on both sides.

Bronze amulet in the form of a dragon/snake head.

A group consists of one armband and two bracelets. Armband is formed as a row of beads. On the other hand one bracelet is plain while the other is dragon-headed. . As with bracelets, Urartian armbands were also used by both men and women. The terminals of the bracelets and the armbands are generally shaped like snake and dragon heads. Armbands were also used as indicators of class and for protection, as were bracelets.

Open ended snake-headed armband. Bronze.

Spiral-shaped dragon-headed armband. Bronze.

Dragon-shaped armband with overlapping end. Bronze.

3D animation film installed within the Rezan Has Museum "Urartian Jewellery Collection" exhibition.

Credits: Story

Advisor: Ass.Prof. Rafet Çavuşoğlu
Coordinator: Zeynep Çulha
Restorers: Mehmet Ayrancı, Irmak Güneş Yüceil, Dilek Dil
Photography: Reyhan Ekşi

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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