Strap necklace with amphora, leaf, and beech-nut pendants
2nd century B.C.
Length: 38.5 cm (15 3/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Gold with garnets
Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)
A broad strap, made up of extraordinarily fine links by the multiple, interlocking loop-in-loop technique, ends in ivy-leaf-shaped finials, each set with a garnet and decorated in filigree work and granules. One garnet is a cabochon, the other, like some set into the pendants, a naturally faceted crystal. Both finials end in loops; to one is attached an extra, ivy-leaf-shaped element, set with a garnet and ending in a closure hook. From the strap, each join masked by a tiny disc, are suspended rows of pendants: plain gold “spear points”; gold leaf shapes, each set with a garnet, on short chains; and finally, on long, V-shaped festoons of chain, pointed amphoras with high, scrolling handles.
This necklace is a slightly simplified version of the sumptuous example, inscribed “Zoilas,” in the Benaki Museum, Athens. (Description by A. Herrmann in “The Search for Alexander” 1980, cat. no. 77.)
By 1970: with Sotheby & Co., 34 & 35 New Bond Street, London, W. 1, England (Sotheby auction, July 13, lot 149); purchased at the Sotheby auction by Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Malzgasse 25, Basel, Switzerland; May 12, 1971: purchased by MFA from Münzen und Medaillen, A.G.
Edward J. and Mary S. Holmes Fund