Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ancient Inspiration

A brief sampling of images I have been collecting of late, of the ancient world... it never ceases to amaze me the range of creativity over the many eons of human existence.

Intaglio of Julia, daughter of Titus. Aquamarine (2nd half of 1st CE) signed Evodos.
Carolingian frame (9th) surrounded by 9 sapphires and 6 pearls.

700BC-650 BCE Tridacna squamosa shell carved with a human head on the apex and two incised winged sphinxes in a register on the edge of the inner side. E.MED - PHOENICIAN found probably in Vulci Italy, exact production site unclear British Museum

Ancient Geek Jewelry

Calima / Tumaco-La Tolita stamp seal. Columbia / Ecuador circa 300 BC.
The seal is incised with a whorl pattern and has remains of red cinnabar in incisions.

Faience inlay in the form of an owl, from Egypt, 525-305 BC

Ancient Greek silver and garnet bowl, Hellenistic period, circa 1st century BC 

Vessel, Maya, 650-800

Seated Figure Urn, AD 300-600, Zapotec; Oaxaca

Babylonian and Assyrian cylinder seals in 19th century gold settings. The seals, which date
from circa 2000-600 BC, were collected by Sir Austin Henry Layard, who had them made
into jewelry as a wedding present for his bride Enid in 1869.

The Lycurgus Cup: This extraordinary cup is the only complete example of a very special type of glass, known as dichroic, which changes colour when held up to the light. The opaque green cup turns to a glowing translucent red when light is shone through it. The glass contains tiny amounts of colloidal gold and silver, which give it these unusual optical properties. Europe AD 300-1100.

A Jedmet Nasr red stone cylinder seal, circa 3000 BC 

The Snettisham Hoard, Iron Age, ca. 75 BC

About 2,700 years old. From western Turkey, this could be the oldest coin found to date.
In the British Museum. Made with electrum, an alloy of gold and silver.


  1. Absolutely fabulous! and all done without our modern technologies - true craftsmanship.

  2. It's all so beautiful, I love ancient art. That Owl inspires me, I might have to play a big with the shape of it's face and make something copper.

  3. Wonderful way to start my morning! Inspiration all around. I especially love the first one.

  4. Very pretty! I especially love that intricate goldish one. Reminds me of Bali beads ;) xo Genea

  5. Wow! What talent it took to make the ancient artifacts never ceases to amzaze me and without modern tools and tech, it may have taken months to create just one piece! Two things really drew my attention that gold serpentine piiece, is it a brooch from 75 B.C. Whew! Ahd that fantastic necklace made of seals. I feel a sketch coming on! Let me say, I was so excited when I got the email that one of the labyrinth pieces was mine, I spent the whole night reading about labyrinths. Then, I found something totally off the wall about them and I was off to another site to research that and then another! Finally, this afternoon, I think I have a solid idea of what is to become of mine and a whole list of things to blog about. Wooo hoooo! Thank you!

    1. I would love to hear what sites you found.... about the labyrinths! So glad to have sparked a creative frenzy!

  6. gorgeous! I love the Columbian seal, I can totally see that design as one of your pieces Karen! It would make a lovely pendant!

  7. Karen - gorgeous. Each one has me thinking things in different directions. I am having an art history geek moment. Thanks for sharing!

  8. WOW that is some awesome artifacts you have found!!! So much inspiration!

  9. I am always so moved by ancient art - I think about the lives behind the hands that created it. I wonder what was happening in those lives on the day each piece was finished or conceived. Were they proud of what their hands had wrought? Or did they see the flaws, were they frustrated by the ways in which the piece fell short of what they envisioned? I know that what I set out to make and what I wind up with are sometimes two very different things - was it that way for them too? Thank you so much for sharing these!!


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