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Jewellry and GlypticsNorthern Black Sea CoastAncient RomeAncient ItalyAncient Greece










Nike Driving a Quadriga

Earrings

4th century BC

Gold

These gold filigree earrings were found during excavations of a burial mound in the environs of Theodosia. This is the most remarkable example of pieces executed in the so-called 'microtechnique' by Greek goldsmiths during the 4th century BC. The upper part of the earring consists of a round disc with an elegant flower in the middle; the border is decorated with rows of granulations and ornament of filigree rosettes and palmettes. Beneath the disc the artist placed a many-figured sculptural group: four racing horses harnessed to a quadriga driven by the Goddess of Victory, Nike; winged geniuses fly alongside the horses, and a warrior with a shield stands at the edge of the chariot. Contest rules stated that the warrior-athlete had to jump off the chariot at full speed to cross the finish running. In spite of their tiny size, the figures reveal the artist's skill in shaping a body, creating a sense of feathers through incisions on Nike's wings and in decorating the shield with miniscule granulations and geometrical patterns. These earrings are particularly famous for their use of the granulation technique: tiny drops of metal, set in groups of four and arranged in regular rows.

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