Greek gold

Exhibition

At the Hermitage Amsterdam the jewellery is chronologically grouped by site. The oldest burial mounds are those of Olbia (6th-5th century BC) and the Seven Brothers mound (5th century). Among the objects from the latter mound in the exhibition is a spectacular gold drinking horn. The 4th century was truly the golden age of Greek jewellery.

The stunning chains from the burial mounds at Nymphaion and Pantikapeion, consisting of gold lotuses, rosettes and depictions of the river god Acheloüs, are the most beautiful examples of the remarkable craftsmanship of the Greek goldsmiths. Chains, for which the Greeks had seven different names, were worn tightly round the neck. There were usually more than one. Besides these chains, there are rings from Pantikapeion with images of Penelope and of a Persian as well as two impressive gold bracelets with lion's heads.

One of the richest sites is the Kul Oba burial mound (4th century BC), where one of the most famous treasures of the Hermitage was found: the twisted gold necklace with two Scythian riders. With the details of the clothing, pose and facial expressions, the refinement of this piece is unrivalled. From the same mound came an example of Greek jewellery for the ear in which the details, such as tiny images and filigree, can barely be seen with the naked eye. In the exhibition they can be viewed with a magnifying glass. Another highlight comes from the Kekuvatsky mound (4th century BC): a gold laurel wreath of olive branches with olives. The wreath was placed on the skull of the deceased. In Greece laurel wreaths were used in processions, as prizes for all kinds of competitions and to decorate images of the gods.

Another famous site is the Great Bliznitsa burial mound (late 4th century BC), which is represented in this exhibition by, amongst other objects, the imposing pendant with a relief of a Nereid (one of the daughters of the sea god Nereus) on a sea horse.

The exhibition ends with examples of late Hellenistic jewellery which clearly illustrate the transition from Greek to Roman art. In addition to the jewellery, there are several terracotta and silver vases, on which Greek women and men can be seen wearing similar jewellery.

Opening hours

Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed on 25 December 2014 and 27 April 2015

© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Photo Janiek Dam

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