A superb Achaemenid Gold Repousse Pendant, ca. 550 to 330 BCE
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Of high karat sheet gold, this large pendant is hammered to a disc shape, then molded in repousse with three couchant griffins in profile surrounding a hemispherical boss inlaid with carnelian. The griffins are beautifully detailed, featuring a lion's body and the head and wings of an eagle, with their head turned back in typical Persian style. They are contained within a slightly raised border that encircles the perimeter. The central boss is in high relief with a circular bezel containing a flat, polished carnelian stone. At the top is a suspension loop folded from the frontside to the verso.
This pendant attests to the sophisticated taste and high social status of their owners and the exceptional skill of Achaemenid goldsmiths. Greek writers often speak of the tremendous wealth of the Persians. Herodotus writes that King Xerxes' troops "were adorned with the greatest magnificence...they glittered all over with gold, vast quantities of which they wore about their person" (vii.83).
Dimensions: Diameter: 4.5 cm (1.77 inches) Weight: 3.5 grams
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: David and Henry Anavian Family collection, acquired in Iran in the 1970s; ex-Sumer Gallery, New York City, New York, USA.