Bronze head with horn. China, around 1200 BC. Located at Jiangxi Provincial Museum. About 53cm high. Found in 1989.
Although it looks like a mask, this is actually a two-faced head, the back side has the exact the same face as the front. It depicts a half-man half-god, believed to be an intermediary between heaven and earth. The round socket on top is meant to hold a feather crown, while the square socket below is meant for a wooden pole.
How the head was used is uncertain. It may have been a totem, or the top of a shaman’s staff, or a standard (it was found with a large stash of bronze weapons).
After it was excavated in 1927, the archaeologists assembled the dress slightly different than how it’s shown today. The dress’ design was corrected over time thanks to archaeologist George Reisner’s meticulous documentations and excavations.
Here’s how the burial chamber and the sarcophagus it was found in looks like. Notice it’s not decorated, just like the vast majority of burial chambers of the time including the Great Pyramid.
A short article was written about the dress (p.15+16).
The dress is the earliest surviving example of a garment with the…Read more
A ring with a reclining ram – of Syrian culture, dating to ca. 14th-13th century B.C. Made out of Electrum (a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver).
This impressive ring is decorated with chased geometric patterns on the hoop and a reclining ram on top. Lotus blossom ornaments in relief adorn the sides and indicate Egyptian influence. Rings like this would most likely have been worn by high-ranking officials or priests.
The Parade armour of Henry II of France (31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559). Henry II was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis III, Duke of Brittany, in 1536.
As a child, Henry and his elder brother spent over four years in captivity in Spain as hostages in exchange for their father. Henry pursued his father’s policies in matter of arts, wars and religion.
The lion-headed eagle (Anzû – 12.8 cm high; 11.9 cm wide) made of copper, gold, and lapis lazuli by Sumerian civilization. 2550–2500 BC.
In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, Anzû is a divine storm-bird and the personification of the southern wind and the thunder clouds. This demon—half man and half bird—stole the “Tablet of Destinies)” from Enlil and hid them on a mountaintop.
Anu ordered the other gods to retrieve the tablet, even though they all feared the demon. According to one text, Marduk killed the bird; in another, it died through the arrows of the god Ninurta.
The Anzu may reference cyclonic activity in the Indian Ocean.
Oral and subsequent written traditions suggest there was a mega-cyclone around 4200-40…Read more
A full war elephant armour ca 1600s – located in the Royal Armouries, Leeds, UK. The armour is incomplete, lacking around 3000 plates, but was restored in the late 40s “with around 600 plates and approximately 12,000 mail links being replaced”.
Cameo gem with Minerva in corinthian helmet set into a hollow ring, ancient Rome – 1st century AD.
A bust of Minerva (Greek: Athena) has been set into the bezel of this hollow gold ring.
She wears a snake-edged aegis and a Corinthian helmet in her role as warrior goddess. Similar in function to an amulet, a ring with a portrait of a divinity brought the wearer under the deity’s protection.
Minerva, who was very popular as a motif on such rings, was often a protectress of heroes such as Herakles or Theseus. She was also connected with skilled crafts and healing. Although the stone of this cameo is chalcedony, it looks very like emerald, a stone particularly prized by the Romans.
The extremely high relief carving of…Read more
Students writing board with spelling corrections done by a teacher. Ancient Egypt, 12th dynasty. 1981–1802 B.C. More info.
Gessoed boards were used for writing notes or school exercises. Like the slate writing tablets of yesteryear, they could be used repeatedly, with old texts being whitewashed to provide a “clean slate” for another. This board still bears traces of earlier writing (at left). The main text is a wordy model letter that the student copied—and surely also was expected to memorize. His many spelling mistakes have been corrected in red ink by the teacher.
Golden Bracelet from the tomb of Ramesses II decorated with granulation and a double-headed duck with a body made from lapis-lazuli. Ancient Egypt, 19th dynasty. 1279 to 1213 BC. Stored in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Gold mining has a long history in Egypt, as ancient artifacts attest. This gold and lapis lazuli bracelet was probably worn by Ramesses II (reign. c.1279-1213 BC) or one of his favorites.
The solid gold bangle is composed of two parts, linked on one side by a hinge and on the other by a clasp. The broader upper part of the bracelet is decorated with a double-headed duck. Its body consist of a large chunk of lapis lazuli framed by broad bands of gold plate. The two heads and the duck´s spread out tail were…Read more
Double headed snake armlet made from gold. Roman Egypt, 1st century AD. Can be found in the Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum, London: Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 3, shelf A, box 6. More info.
This type of bracelet takes the form of a spiral and ends in a snake’s head. They were worn on the upper arm and are properly called armlets. Roman jewellery borrowed heavily from Hellenistic goldwork.
This particular type was common in Hellenistic times, especially in Egypt where these particular armlets might have been made. Snakes were the symbol of a number of deities associated with healing, including the Egyptian goddess Isis and the Greek god of medicine Asclepios.
It was therefore a…Read more
Wreath from Ur (gold, lapis lazuli and carnelian), 2500 BCE. More info.
2 strings of lapis, carnelian beads, 5 gold leaves. Gold beech-leaves with lapis tubular and carnelian beads-two separate groups strung together–Joins 30-12-745 CBS Register: U.12366. Crown of 5 gold leaves on lapis, carnelian strings. Length 120 mm. PG 1237 Body 8
Statuette of Thoth in ibis form wearing an Atef Crown. It’s made from Wood (Body), silver, stucco and glass (eyes). Ancient Egypt, 26th dynasty. 664 to 525 BC. Found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. More info.
Thoth, as the embodiment of wisdom, and the art of writing, was the patron of scribes. The ibis is next to the baboon the sacred animal of the god Thoth.
The body of this statuette is made of wood, which was covered with fine stucco. The head with the atef crown, the neck, the tail feathers and the legs are made of silver. The eyes are in stucco with black glass.
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A home for historical artifacts, long forgotten trinkets and objects that sculptured history.
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