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Lot 0062 Details

Description
**Originally Listed At $1800**

Ancient Near East, Holy Land, early Byzantine Empire, ca. 6th to 7th century CE. A stunning set of earrings, hand-formed from 16K gold, each crescentic in form with an openwork design depicting a pair of confronting peacocks flanking a central rosette-shaped vase, the details chased and punched, and framed within gold wire. The earrings are further adorned with a trio of hollow gold spheres set equidistantly along the lower border, the ear hook joined to the concave edge, arching above, and intended to hook to a loop at one end. Each earring has an additional French hook threaded through the original hook, making this a fabulous ensemble of wearable ancient jewelry. Size of each: 1.25" W x 1.375" H (3.2 cm x 3.5 cm); total weight: 15.1 grams.

The ancient Byzantines likely believed that the peacock was an appropriate iconographical symbol because of the manner in which its elaborate feathers fell out and grew again each spring. The bird also became a symbol of renewal, resurrection, and immortality in early Christian and Byzantine culture. Fine images of the peacock depicted on jewelry, mosaics, and other pieces of art were also associated as an extension of heaven on earth; concurrently, many wealthy individuals were thought to have kept peacocks as pets to physically be closer to heaven and therefore live a more pious lifestyle.

For a similar example, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, credit line BZ.1952.13.1-2: https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/479060

For a similar example, please see "Ancient Works: Sculpture, Painting, Mosaics, Glass and Jewelry in Antiquity." Fortuna Fine Arts Ltd., New York, 2004, fig. 82.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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#135442
Condition
Wearable as shown. French hooks are modern and earrings are ancient. Repair to original suspension hook on one earring. Surface wear commensurate with age, slight bending to suspension hooks and overall form, light tarnishing to surface, minor dents to some hollow spheres, and fading to some finer incised details.
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Byzantine 16K Gold Earrings w/ Peacocks, 15.1 g

Estimate $3,400 - $5,100Aug 16, 2018
Starting Price $1,600
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