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Gold diadem with embossed decoration


Length: 21.400 cm
Width: 6.500 cm
Weight: 351.000 g

British Museum Excavations

GR 1898.12-1.185 (Jewellery 150)

Room 72: Ancient Cyprus

    Gold diadem with embossed decoration

    From tomb VIII at Hala Sultan Tekké, Larnaca, Cyprus
    About 1400-1200 BC

    Found on the skull of a skeleton

    This highly decorated funerary diadem was found on the skull of a skeleton in a tomb. In Late Bronze Age Cyprus, funerary mouth pieces were also placed over the mouth of the skeleton. The forms are of eastern inspiration, but the designs often show Mycenaean Greek influence.

    The decoration on this diadem was made by stamping sheet gold with specially prepared punches that enabled the design to be repeated. The two rows of figure-of-eight shields were inspired by Mycenaean Greece. The bulls' heads are each crowned by a lotus flower surmounted by a palmette. Bulls' heads were a particularly common motif in Cyprus and may have had a religious significance: models were set up on sticks like totem poles and bulls' masks were worn by priests and perhaps worshippers in religious ceremonies. There are also numerous figurines of bulls.

    Earrings of gold wire, threaded with bulls' heads, were made at the same time as the funerary diadems and mouthpieces.

    V. Tatton-Brown, Ancient Cyprus, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)