Description & Technical information

Weight: 17g
The substantial gold oval pendant with double granule beaded rim forming a border of gold wire wave pattern with granule beads between each loop. Set to the center a large white chalcedony cameo deeply cut with a very fine frontal bust of the god Cupid (Greek Eros), hair pulled up into a top-knot to the top of the head, falling in locks round the face and to the neck. The face exceptionally well carved with soft, youthful features and large eyes. Ribbed suspension loop to the top with granule beads to the base. The back of the pendant with six claw fittings to hold the cameo in place. 
Length including suspension hoop 4.7cm / 1 7/8''

Period:  Early 1st century AD
Medium: gold, Carved chalcedony
Literature: In the Theogony of Hesiod, written in the eighth century BC, Eros is as a primeval god and demiurge, son of Chaos, the original primeval emptiness of the universe, but later tradition made him the son of Aphrodite, goddess of sexual love and beauty,patron goddess of Cyprus and founder of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Roman emperors. The father of Eros was described in Classical literature as being either Zeus (the king of the gods), Ares (god of war and of battle), or Hermes(divine messenger of the gods). Eros was a god not simply of passion but also of fertility. His brother was Anteros, the god of mutual love, who was sometimes described as his opponent. The chief associates of Eros were Pothos and Himeros (Longing and Desire). In Archaic Greek art he is generally depicted as a beautiful winged adolescent, but by the time of the Hellenistic period he had become depicted as an infant. His chief cult centre was at Thespiae in Boeotia, where the Erotidia festival were celebrated. He also shared a sanctuary with Aphrodite on the north wall of the Acropolis at Athens. By the Roman period Eros was associated with Cupid, and the concept of him being a primeval god of creation had all but been forgotten in place of his function as a beneficent god who bestowed happiness on mortal and immortal couples. The most famous account of Cupid comes from the 2nd century AD novel by Lucius Apuleius called �The Golden Ass� in which the story of Cupid and Psyche is recounted. The story is allegory of the yearning of the soul (represented by Psyche) for union with god (represented by Cupid), and the image of the divine pair were popular subjects for statues, mosaics and wall paintings throughout the Roman Empire. This piece could well have been given as a token of love. The carving is exceptional and displays stylistic qualities that point to Alexandria as the place of manufacture. Alexandria was one of the greatest cities in the Hellenistic world that attracted highly skilled artisans to work for the Ptolemaic royal court. After Egypt became part of the Roman Empire the emphasis for these craftsmen shifted to the wealthy elite of the Roman world.

Categories: Jewellery