Hellenistic Gold Bull Earrings

£ 2,750.00

A very fine pair of Greek gold bull earrings from the Hellenistic period. Each feature a hoop with one end tapering to a point and the other enriched with a bull terminal. The bulls have been rendered stylistically with two pointed horns, a short muzzle and large, round, pierced eyes. Small wavy lines have been carved onto the forehead to mimic hair. The hoops are enriched with delicate twisted filigree. A double spiral is visible on the bull’s neck with curved and linear patterns decorating the lower section. A small hoop is visible below the bull’s mouth used for originally securing the earring.

Date: Circa 4th-3rd century BC
Condition: Excellent condition, encrustation to the surface. Slight tear of the gold to the inner part of one of the hoops.

In stock

SKU: LD-694 Category: Tags: ,

As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth and richness. In Ancient Greek culture jewellery was worn in everyday life but was also buried with the decease as part of his or her funerary outfit. Earrings such as these became very popular from the 6th century BC onwards and thicker models have been found also in the Greek colonies of south Italy. The most common models included many zoomorphic heads, such as bull, lion, goat heads and dolphins. Bulls were thought to symbolise power, virility and fertility to the Greeks, they were associated with the god Zeus and Apollo. There are also many famous myths involving bulls including Zeus and Europa, the Cretan bull and Hercules’ twelve labours. Imagery of the animal was therefore popular and can be seen across pottery, jewellery and in sanctuaries.

To find out more about different metal decorative techniques please see our relevant blog post: Decorative Metalwork Techniques

Weight 9.3 g
Dimensions H 3.7 cm



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