Scythian Gold Appliqué


A Scythian gold appliqué finely modelled in repoussé with chased detailing, in the form of two opposing faces with their hair tied back and decorated with a herringbone pattern. Underneath both faces sits a roundel with two bird heads on each side, their beaks elaborately crafted into scroll patterns. The gold appliqué was probably sewed on to clothing as a dress ornament. This piece comes with a custom-made stand and the measurements indicated includes the stand. The piece itself measures 2.7cm in length, 2.2cm in width and weighs 0.6g.

Date: Circa first Millennium BC
Provenance: Ex Mayfair gallery collection, pre 1999.
Condition: Very fine condition. Some specks of encrustation.

In stock

The Scythians were nomadic people occupying the steppe lands north of the Black Sea from 900 BC to around 200 BC in what is now southern Siberia. They were reputed to be fierce warriors and were known from ancient Assyrian and Graeco-Roman sources. Herodotus wrote in his book, The Histories, that – ‘None who attacks them can escape, and none can catch them if they desire not to be found.’

Scythian art was primarily decorative in its nature, and the Scythians were famed for their jewellery, which was highly ornate and carefully crafted. This gold zoomorphic mount would have been affixed to garments of clothing as decoration. Such items normally would have been affixed in patterns, with multiple gold mounts on a single item of clothing. Gold was so integral to Scythian fashions that even their horses were richly decorated in gold ornamentation.

To discover more about Scythian culture, please visit our relevant blog post: Scythian Gold.

Weight 30.9 g
Dimensions L 4.8 x W 2.9 x H 6.5 cm


Reference: For a similar type of appliqué, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 65.162.4

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