Greece, Hellenistic, ca. 2nd to 1st century BCE. WOW, WOW,WOW!!! A stunning ovoid plaque made from 23K+ gold sheet (98% gold), expertly decorated with repousse motifs including a bull's head, opposing lionesses, three concentric circles in the field, and a border of petite leaves. A magnificent piece like this was likely used to adorn a diadem; note that it is pierced at either end for attachment. Gold quality: 98% or equivalent to over 23 karat. Size: 4.25" W x 1.875" H (10.8 cm x 4.8 cm); 3.375" H (8.6 cm) on included custom stand.
The iconography on this piece connotes layers of meaning. Lions, for example, are often the stars of ancient Greek stories, such as Herakles' defeat of the Nemean lion. This said, it is probable that the creator of this piece saw lions in real life. Aristotle and Herodotus tell us that lions lived in the Balkans and Greece until around the 1st century BCE! Bulls, were symbolic of power and virility. The diadem is one of the oldest and most characteristic articles of jewelry that originated in the Greek world. Numerous diadem comprised of gold have been found in necropolises in southern Italy, Macedonia, and on the Black Sea coast, testifying to the great refinement of Greek jewelry-making during the Hellenistic period, and to the widespread diffusion of decorative motifs throughout the Mediterranean basin.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-prominent New York collector DK, acquired in 2000s
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Minute nicks to peripheries. Creases to periphery near one of the perforations. Gold has developed a warm patina over time. Scattered deposits. Repousse imagery is very strong. Cannot be weighed as attached to stand via hooks that secure the diadem in place.