Amaranthine: Flowers of Hellenic Adornment

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KALLOS GALLERY
WEDNESDAY 7TH OCTOBER – FRIDAY 18TH DECEMBER 2015
14 – 16 DAVIES STREET, LONDON, W1K 3DR

Kallos Gallery, the world’s only commercial gallery to specialise exclusively in the art of the ancient Greeks, is to unveil a trinity of exquisite Greek jewellery pieces, including two never previously exhibited in the UK.

The opening of this selling exhibition will coincide with Frieze Week (12th – 18th October). The jewellery, dating from the 4th and 3rd Centuries BC, will be intimately displayed to encourage close examination of these stunning and sophisticated pieces, and the ancient goldsmithing and lapidary techniques used to create them.

Amaranthine, from the ancient Greek for ‘unfading, everlasting’, describes the timelessness of these elegant pieces, some still wearable after over 2,400 years, and – equally – of the modern engagement and fascination with ancient forms of adornment. From the Neo-classicalism of the 18th Century, to revivalist styles inspired by archaeological discoveries of the Victorian era, jewellery continues to take inspiration from its ancient past.

Dr Glenn Lacki, Gallery Director, said,

“These pieces intrigue the mind as well as they once adorned the body. Jewellery has deep-rooted connections to social ritual – connections that cut across time and cultures.

The pieces we are bringing together for Amaranthine are heavy in gold, but carry also their own extraordinary histories that entice our imaginations.”

ABOUT THE PIECES

PAIR OF GOLD LION-HEAD BRACELETS

Made from solid gold, these bracelets, perhaps mainland Greece in origin, date to the later Classical Period (late 5th to early 4th Century BC). As they still are today, lions were powerful symbols of strength and courage for the Greeks, entering their iconography under influence from Near Eastern art. Lion emblems would have been worn to illustrate rank, prestige, power and nobility for men and women alike. Such tokens may even have been distributed by rulers to reward bravery in battle.

gold-nots

HELLENISTIC GOLD, GARNET AND AGATE NECKLACE AND EARRINGS

This necklace and earrings set originates from the 3rd Century BC. Spherical garnet beads alternate with ones in flat or intricately beaded gold, alongside agate and other precious stones. Drawing on the mythology of Demeter and Persephone, Greek jewellers often used garnets to symbolise pomegranate seeds, with their connotations of fertility.

Jewellery such as this would have been an important status symbol for wealthy women; it may also have been offered in devotion to the gods, as expensive jewellery and precious stones were often placed on cult statues and dedicated in shrines.

Alexander the Great’s unprecedented military conquests in the East traced a path through every major goldfield in the Persian Empire. Gold, precious stones and a new influx of Eastern iconography flooded into Greece, as here in this necklace’s agate crescent-moon pendant, an ancient amuletic symbol of the Mesopotamian moon gods.

gold-armlet-with-herakles-knot

GOLD ARMLET WITH HERAKLES KNOT

Dating to circa 300 BC, this armlet is crafted in bands of hammered gold sheet with intricate filigree (and once complex enamelling and lapidary work) embellishing the cuffs and knot. The intricately worked Herakles knot was a popular decorative motif believed to have originated in ancient Egypt. This type of double knot was associated with marriage, where it was traditionally used to tie the bride’s garments for the wedding ceremony, the knot being untied by the groom following the nuptial vows. As such, it is a likely source of the modern phrase ‘tying the knot’.

Knots appear symbolically across many cultures to mark moments of transition, whether from maiden to married lady, or from life to death and in Ancient Greece were also associated with easing childbirth. The ‘Herakles’ type maintained its symbolic and apotropaic significance into the Roman era and the historian Pliny the Elder wrote about such knots having healing powers.

ABOUT KALLOS GALLERY

Founded in 2014 by Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza – part of the fourth generation of one of the world’s best-known art collecting dynasties, and a long-standing champion of the Classical World – Kallos Gallery (the word means ‘beauty’ in ancient Greek) offers for sale some of the most arresting and best-preserved artworks from the Ancient Greek world, of a quality rarely seen outside the world’s greatest museums.

Kallos Gallery is the only gallery in the world to specialise exclusively in the antiquities of ancient Greece.

The gallery acts as a forum for discussion and learning, hosting regular talks, performances and events, with a central aim to inspire and guide a new generation of collectors. In addition, it operates an educational outreach programme in classics and classical archaeology, opening its doors to primary and secondary school children from central London and the UK, and working closely with UK-based educational charities and organisations.

Kallos Gallery is open Monday – Friday, 10.30am – 5.30pm, and by appointment. For further details,

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