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Seven gold plaques showing Artemis as 'Mistress of Animals'


Height: 4.200 cm

Excavated by Auguste Salzmann and Alfred Biliotti

GR 1861.11-11.1, 3, 4 (Jewellery 1128-30)

Room 13: Greece 1050-520 BC

    Seven gold plaques showing Artemis as 'Mistress of Animals'

    Greek, Orientalizing period, about 660-620 BC
    From Rhodes, Aegean Sea

    These seven gold plaques were designed to be strung together and worn along the top edge of a garment, with the rosettes pinned to it at the shoulders. The plaques are of sheet gold, and are identical in form, though the added decoration in filigree and granulation on the dress of the goddess and the bodies of the lions is different in each case, creating a rich effect. Pomegranates, which were symbols of fertility, hang from the bottom of each plaque.

    Signs of wear and ancient repair show that this jewellery was worn in life, and not just deposited in the tomb. It therefore provides a rare and fascinating glimpse of the wealth and taste on display in Rhodes in the seventh century BC.

    The winged goddess flanked by animals is an eastern motif that had been known in Greece during the Bronze Age. It became particularly popular during the Orientalizing period of the seventh century, which was characterized by influence from the east. The pose is called that of the 'Mistress of Animals', because the goddess shows her domination of wild nature by controlling or subduing the animals at each hand. In the Greek world the 'Mistress of Animals' was identified as the goddess Artemis.