A SUITE OF HELLENISTIC GOLD JEWELRY, CIRCA LATE 4TH/EARLY 3RD CENTURY B.C.

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A SUITE OF HELLENISTIC GOLD JEWELRY, CIRCA LATE 4TH/EARLY 3RD CENTURY B.C.
including a necklace with a central Herakles knot and a pair of earrings with lion-head terminals.

Necklace length: 37.5 cm; 14 ¾ in Earrings length: 1.6 cm; 5/8 in

Price available on request

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PROVENANCE
Braun collection, Munich
Derek Content, London
Cahn International AG, Basel, exhibited at TEFAF, Maastricht 2011
London private collection, 2011-2016

CATALOGUE NOTE
The central feature of this Greek gold necklace is known as a Herakles knot. The knot takes it name from the type of bind used by the mythological hero Herakles to tie the skin of the Nemean lion around his neck after slaying the beast in the fulfillment of the first of his twelve labors. According to the Roman writer Pliny, the Herakles knot had the power to cure wounds, and thus Greek artisans adapted its form into wearable jewelry to harness its amuletic powers. This necklace also features a finely woven gold chain terminating in lion-head finials, with the Herakles knot centered upon a rosette, with elaborate spiral filigree decorating the knot’s loops. For a similar necklace also with a Herakles knot now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York see https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/256234?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=herakles+knot&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=2

Greek gold-smiths first created pennanular earrings terminating in animal heads toward the end of the 4th century B.C. Like the present example, this type of earring consists of a tapering penannular hoop made of twisted wire with the larger end concluding in the form of an animal’s head. As with the Herakles knot, the presence of the lion relates back to the myth of Herakles who famously defeated the Nemean lion and wore its skin throughout the rest of his twelve labors as a symbol of his success.

For all enquires, please contact ancientsculpture@sothebys.com

Currently Available for Private Sale

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