Spool earring

Italic, Etruscan
Late Archaic or Classical Period
early 5th century B.C.


Catalogue Raisonné

Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 142.

Dimensions

Overall: 1.2 cm (1/2 in.) Overall (with 03.765): 4.31 gm (0.01 lb.)

Accession Number

03.766

Medium or Technique

Gold

On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Earrings, flares, plugs, studs

“A baule” or spool earrings consist of a band of sheet metal rounded at one end and rolled into a cylinder. A hook at one end of the earring either passed through the earlobe or a suspension hoop in the ear.
The upper zone of decoration, which covered the earlobe, is shaped like a pediment with a palmette drawn in beaded wire and terminating in spirals. Granules of many different sizes fill in space at the base of the palmette. A thin strip of sheet gold forms an undulating ribbon-like border between the two zones.
The main decorative zone is divided into eighteen squares, all separated by a ribbon border. The squares alternate between a hemisphere of plain sheet gold and one covered with granules, creating a pattern of matte/textured and polished/smooth surfaces. The sheet gold hemispheres are marked with a pyramid of three granules that form a central bead.
An embellished disk closes one end of the spool. The disk is decorated with a border of flat open circles (beaded filigree wire); beaded filigree is used to embellish the open area in the center.
The earring forms a pair with 03.765.

Provenance

By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome. [with 03.765]); March 24, 1903: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1900