Hoop earring with the head of an African - ROM2018_16192_23


Hoop earring with the head of an African

Medium:Gold set with garnet
Europe, Greece
Date: about 300-100 BC
Period: Hellenistic period
Max. diameter: 2.1 cm
Object number: 986.34.1
On view
Gallery Location:Gallery of Greece

The earring consists of fine gold wire wrapped around a core. One end tapers to a point  and the wider end is decorated with a cap that is set with the head of an African in garnet. The scalp is indicated by sheet gold from which issue finley coiled wires suggesting the hair.  A thick gold wire hoop attached to the back of the head forms part of the clasp.

In general Blacks were a recurring theme in Hellenistic art. The ancient Greeks used the blanket term 'Ethiopians' for African people, a word already encountered on the Mycenaean tablets from Pylos.     

Greek World
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