Scythian Gold Ibex Appliqué


A stunningly simple gold sheet mount of a Ziwiye ibex posed in a recumbent position. Featuring the use of the repoussé technique, the ibex’s physical traits are prominent; including a concentric circle eye, rounded nose, large horns and muscle tone markings. There are three loop attachments adorning the reverse. The old collector’s label is visible on the reverse, reading ‘87.381 C’.

Date: Circa 8th - 7th century BC
Provenance: From the Robin Symes Gallery Mayfair, pre 1999.
Condition: Very fine condition. Some wear to the edges.


Discovered in 1947, this Ibex mount was part of a treasure hoard uncovered from the Ziwiye site in western Iran. Comprising of many gold, silver and ivory objects, the Ziwiye hoard is said to be free from any foreign influence.

Scythia was an area in central Eurasia, which bordered the Black Sea and largely consisted of nomadic tribes.Scythian art was primarily decorative in its nature, termed ‘animal style’, standardized techniques were used to produce a set group of animal depictions with stylized and exaggerated features.  The animals represented fit into three categories of bird, ungulate and predator, all of which are associated with the three levels of the world – the heavens, the earth and hell. Additionally, Scythians were famed for their jewellery, which was highly ornate and carefully crafted.

This gold mount would have been affixed to garments as decoration, usually as part of a pattern, with multiple gold mounts on a single item of clothing. So integral was gold to Scythian fashions that even horses were richly decorated in gold ornamentation.

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

Weight 0.8 g
Dimensions L 1.9 x W 1.8 cm





Reference: For Similar: Christie’s Auction House, London, Antiquities, Auction 7207, Antiquities, 2012, lot 150

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