The images you'll see as you scroll down to the current text are all part of the story telling in my novel, Realms of Gold:Ritual to Romance.


Bianca Caldwell, pen name, Bianca Fiore, is a writer for an art magazine. In each of her monthly stories she describes an object used in ancient ritual.



Museum at Chatillon Features Realms of Gold!



                                Amis du Musée du Pays Châtillonnais
                                                                                                 Trésor de Vix
No oo1  Lettre aux Amis du Musée  Automne 2014
Fédération Française des Sociétés

d’Amis de Musée (FFSAM)

Notre association est adhérente à la FFSAM à l’instar de quelque 290 autres sociétés d’amis de Musée. En plus de son rôle d’interlocuteur des Pouvoirs Publics, la fédération est un organe de promotion des Sociétés d’Amis et par voie de conséquence des musées, une source de contacts et une occasion d’échanges d’expériences. C’est ainsi qu’un article sur l’AMPC est paru dans le dernier numéro de la revue de la FSAMM. Par ailleurs nous sommes entrain d’établir des relations avec nos collègues de Bourgogne en vue de donner un second souffle au groupement régional (Bourgogne) des sociétés d’amis de musée.
Affaire à suivre.


























Un roman autour de la Dame de Vix :

Les royaumes dorés par Terry Stanfill.

La Dame de Vix a inspiré un roman original écrit par une Américaine résidant en Californie, Terry Stanfill.  A l’occasion d’une visite touristique de la région, cette écrivaine eut un véritable coup de cœur pour la Dame de Vix et tout ce qui l’entoure. L’ouvrage
"Les royaumes dorés" en Anglais "Realms of Gold " imagine les circonstances dans lesquelles le vase de Vix est arrivé dans notre Châtillonnais. Naturellement, c’est une fiction : elle met en scènes divers évènements et protagonistes réels ou imaginaires. Les versions françaises et anglaises sont en vente à la boutique du Musée (15€).  




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                                                Contacts : Président Robert Fries  Tél :03 80 93 14 42
                                                                      Secrétariat : 06 36 60 92 78  courriel ampc.tresordevix@gmail.com
Permanence les jeudis de 9h. à 12h. (sur rendez-vous)





Study Confirms Remains as Philip II of Macedon

Philip II of Macedon was the King of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was a member of the Argead dynasty, the third son of King Amyntas III, and father of Alexander the Great and Philip III. The famous phrase "divide and conquer" is attributed to him.

Vergina. Tomb II ("Philip's Tomb"). View of the marble door separating the antechamber from the main chamber of Tomb II ("Philip's Tomb") at Vergina, with objects in situ: The gold cover of the gorytus (bow-and-arrow case), a pair of gilt bronze greaves, a "Cyprian" amphora, and several alabastra. 350 - 325.


An anthropological team investigating cremated remains found in a royal tomb in Vergina, Greece, has claimed that the remains belong to King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, and an unknown woman warrior. Theodore Antikas, head of the Art-Anthropological research team of the Vergina excavation, suggests that she may have been the daughter of Scythian King Ateas.

The Golden Larnax of Philip II

The golden larnax contains the remains from the burial of King Philip II of Macedon and the royal golden wreath. It was made of 25kt. gold and weighing 24.25 pounds. Inside the larnax were Philip's bones and a golden wreath of 313 oak leaves and 68 acorns weighing 1.6 pounds.

The golden larnax of Philip II [Credit: Protothema]


The face of King Philip II of Macedon, reconstructed
by a team from Manchester University. Philip had lost an eye in
battle when it was penetrated by an arrow.
Study Confirms Remains as Philip II of Macedon

The tomb was one of three excavated from the same mound in the late 1970s by Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos. This tomb, known as Tomb II, had been intact, and it contained silver and bronze vessels, gold wreaths, weapons, armor, and two gold larnakes, or caskets. Antikas told Discovery News that the identification of the middle-aged, male skeleton was based upon marks on the bones. “The individual suffered from frontal and maxillary sinusitis that might have been caused by an old facial trauma,” he said. Philip II was blinded when his right eye was hit with an arrow during the siege of Methone in 354 B.C. “He had signs of chronic pathology on the visceral surface of several low thoracic ribs, indicating pleuritis,” Antikas added of the warrior’s skeleton, which also showed signs of frequent horseback riding. Traces of an object made of royal purple, huntite, textile, beeswax, and clay had been placed on top of the bones in the gold larnax. A pelvis bone fragment from the other casket indicates that the remains belonged to a woman who died between the ages of 30 and 34. She had suffered a fracture in her left leg that had shortened it. “This leads to the conclusion that the pair of mismatched greaves—the left is shorter—the Scythian gorytus, or bow case, and weaponry found in the antechamber belonged to her."

Alexander the great is represented on an accessory of the suit of martial armor in the Royal Tomb II of Vergina

Iron and gold breastplate from Tomb II at Vergina. 
Sword trimmed with gold from the armor of Alexander the Great. It is a gift of the city of Kition, Cyprus. Due to corrosion, the decoration of gold and ivory was not preserved. It was found in the tomb II of Vergina.
Gold Quiver, from the Tomb of Philip II (359-336) at Vergina

Golden gorgon head ornament from the armour of Philip II of Macedon, c. 336 BCE.  


Silver wine jug from the tomb of Philip II.

Ancient Gold: Ganymede Jewelry

Ganymede Jewelry, Hellenistic, 330–300 B.C.
Greek

The pieces in this group were found together in Macedonia, near Thessaloniki, sometime before 1913. Although the assemblage forms an impressive parure (matched set)—earrings, necklace, fibulae (pins), bracelets, and a ring—it is not certain that they belong together. Many do not share a clearly uniform style.



The gold strap necklace, dated circa 300 B.C., is made of three double loop-in-loop chains with double interlinking, and a fringe of beechnut pendants. The terminals take the form of an ivy or grape leaf and have a border of beaded wire and a rosette in the center. Strap necklaces have been found in many areas of the Greek world, including southern Italy, Asia Minor, and the northern Pontus region (around the Black Sea).


The superb gold earrings, dated circa 330–300 B.C., consist of a large honeysuckle palmette below which hangs a finely worked three-dimensional figure of the Trojan prince Ganymede in the clutches of Zeus, who has assumed the guise of an eagle. Zeus coveted Ganymede for his beauty, and carried him off to Mount Olympus to be a cupbearer for the gods. The pendants are sculptural masterpieces in miniature, no doubt reflecting in their basic conception a famous large-scale bronze group of the same subject, made by Leochares in the first half of the fourth century B.C. The idea of airborne figures is ingeniously adapted here to an object that hangs freely in space.


The rock-crystal hoops of the bracelets (ca. 330–300 B.C.) have been carefully cut, carved, and polished to produce a twisted appearance, highlighted by wire bindings fitted into the valleys. The rams heads emerge from long elaborate collars decorated with three friezes enclosed within bands of darts and bordered by plain beaded wire. The upper frieze, an ivy chain on a vine, is tied at the center with a Herakles knot and bears four bunches of grapes; the middle frieze has palmettes with pointed leaves; the third frieze, a palmette complex.


The two pairs of gold fibulae, of Macedonian type, date to 330–300 B.C. Such fibulae (pins), which belong to a northern Greek type characterized by "paddle-wheel" decoration, were usually worn in sets of six. Two more matching fibulae have been identified, one in Berlin and one in the Gans collection. Each hinge plate, all produced with the same die, is decorated with the head of a woman wearing a lion skin. She can be identified as either Omphale, the queen of Lydia, wearing Herakles' lion skin, or Artemis, goddess of the hunt.


Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ancient Gold: Hellenistic Jewelry

When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian empire in 331 B.C., his domain extended from Greece to Asia Minor, Egypt, the Near East, and India. This unprecedented contact with distant cultures not only spread Greek styles across the known world, but also exposed Greek art and artists to new and exotic influences. Significant innovations in Greek jewelry can be traced even earlier to the time of Philip II of Macedonia (r. 359–336 B.C.), father of Alexander the Great. An increasingly affluent society demanded luxurious objects, especially gold jewelry. With technical virtuosity, Greek artists executed sumptuously ornate designs, such as the beechnut pendant, the acanthus leaf, and the Herakles knot.

Armband with a Herakles knot, Hellenistic, 3rd–2nd century b.c.
Greek, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This massive armband, of the highest quality Hellenistic metalwork and in superior condition, belongs to a type of which there are only a few other complete examples. It is constructed of a Herakles knot and an openwork band decorated with ivy tendrils bearing leaves and berries. The leaves are delicately chased, and each group of three berries is soldered to a triangular pallet. Their stems are made of hammered and tapered solid-gold wire.

The knot is composed of inlaid garnets set between two large rectangular cabochons. Its design is enriched by a flowering plant bearing six gold blossoms and a whorl of leaves at its base. The large center leaf is represented by an emerald, and the lesser leaves were enameled in green, which survives on only one small leaf. Distal to the garnet cabochons are imbricated filigree bands with extensive traces of reddish purple (manganese), green, and possibly white enamel. According to the Roman writer Pliny, the decorative device of the Herakles knot could cure wounds, and its popularity in Hellenistic jewelry suggests that it was thought to have the power to avert evil.

Pair of armbands, Hellenistic, ca. 200 b.c.
Greek, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

These imposing serpentine armbands represent two tritons, male and female, each holding a small winged Eros. The hoops behind the tritons' heads were used to attach the armbands to the sleeves of a garment, for otherwise their weight (each over 6 1/2 ounces) would have caused them to slip down the arms.

Bracelet with central medallion, Hellenistic, 2nd century b.c.
Greek, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The most distinctive feature of this bracelet or armlet is the treatment of the outer surfaces of the hoops, which are covered with a delicate network of filigree created by placing parallel rows of wire in a zigzag pattern and dotting the points of contact with granules. This unusual decoration is best paralleled in a few exceptional works from Thessaly. It is a rare forerunner of a popular kind of Roman bracelet featuring twisted hoops and hinged box settings decorated with gemstones.

Openwork hairnet with medallion, Hellenistic, 200–150 b.c.
Greek, Ptolemaic, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This hairnet, with its combination of delicate filigree, carefully hammered decorative bust, and spool-shaped beads, is a superb example of the Hellenistic goldsmith's skill. The medallion represents the head of a maenad, a female follower of the god Dionysos, wearing spiral earrings, a wreath of vine leaves and grapes, and a panther skin.

Hinged ring, 2nd–1st century b.c.; Hellenistic
Greek, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This large and flamboyant ring belongs to an unusual group of finger rings distinguished by the fact that they are hinged. Despite their wide distribution across the Mediterranean world and the minor variations in their design, this and the few other known examples were mostly likely produced in a single workshop. The size of the hexagonal bezel set with a plain but impressively large oval garnet and the circular bezel with a smaller garnet placed on the bottom of the ring suggests that it was meant to be worn on the thumb, and in fact the hinge mechanism allows it to be fitted securely onto the thumb below the knuckle. The mechanism, with its tiny gold pins, must have been rather awkward to open and shut, however, and probably required the assistance of a servant. The use of garnets is typical of jewelry of the late Hellenistic period, when it became fashionable to decorate gold ornaments with colorful exotic gemstones and pearls. This ring is a striking example of the extravagant and ostentatious lifestyle of the rich in the Hellenistic world.






Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Oxus Treasure


Assorted small objects from the Oxus treasure

The Oxus treasure is the most important surviving collection of Achaemenid Persian metalwork. It consists of about 170 objects, dating mainly from the fifth and fourth centuries BC. This was the time of the Achaemenid empire, created by Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC), when Persian control stretched from Egypt and the Aegean to Afghanistan and the Indus Valley.

The two hollow heads, with the statuette perhaps of a king in front

The Treasure seems to have been gathered together over a long period, perhaps in a temple. It includes vessels, a gold scabbard, model chariots and figures, armlets, seals, finger-rings, miscellaneous personal objects, dedicatory plaques and coins It was found on the banks of the River Oxus, probably at the site of Takht-i Kuwad, a ferry station on the north bank of the river.

This is one of the earliest pieces in the treasure and is a scabbard for an akinakes, a short sword which is also shown on reliefs from Persepolis and on plaques within the treasure itself.

The London group includes bowls, a gold jug, and a handle from a vase or ewer in the form of a leaping ibex, which is similar to a winged Achaemenid handle in the Louvre. No rhyton drinking vessels were found, but the British Museum has two other Achaemenid examples, one ending in a griffin's head similar to that on the bracelets in the treasure.

Gold jug and two bowls

 A hollow gold fish, apparently representing a species of carp found only in the Oxus, has a hole at its mouth and a loop for suspension; it may have contained oil or perfume, or hung as one of a group of pendants.

Gold Fish Vessel
Other sculptural objects include two model chariots in gold, one incomplete. The wheels of the complete chariot would originally have turned freely, and it had received at least one repair in antiquity. It is pulled by four horses (rather small, and with only nine legs surviving between them) and carries two figures, a driver and a seated passenger, both wearing torcs. The chariot has handrails at the open rear to assist getting in and out, while the solid front carries the face of the protective Egyptian dwarf-god Bes.

Gold model chariot

In May 1880 Captain F.C. Burton, a British political officer in Afghanistan, rescued a group of merchants who had been captured by bandits while traveling between Kabul and Peshawar. They were carrying with them this rich collection of gold and silver objects. Burton bought from them a gold armlet, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The two griffin-headed bracelets or armlets are the most spectacular pieces by far from the hoard and are typical of the 5th to 4th century BC court style of Achaemenid Persia. Bracelets of a similar form to ones from the treasure can be seen on reliefs from Persepolis being given as tribute, whilst Xenophon writes that armlets (among other things) were gifts of honor at the Persian court. Glass, enamel or semi-precious stone inlays within the bracelets' hollow spaces have now been lost.

One of a pair of armlets from the Oxus Treasure, which has lost its inlays of precious stones or enamel
There are a number of small figurines, some of which may have been detached from larger objects. The single male figures appear to show worshipers rather than deities. The largest is most unusual for Persian art in showing a nude youth (in silver) standing in a formal pose, with a large conical hat covered in gold foil. The statuette shows Greek influence, in the figure and the fact of being nude, but is not typical of ancient Greek art.




Other pieces from the Treasure subsequently emerged in the bazaars of Rawalpindi. Some of those now in The British Museum were acquired by Major-General Sir Alexander Cunningham (1814-93), Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, and others were obtained by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, who was both a curator in the Museum and a generous benefactor. In due course Franks bought Cunningham's share of the treasure, and eventually the entire Oxus treasure was bequeathed by him to The British Museum.

Sources: The British Museum, Wikipedia


Jeweled Gold Diadem, Black Sea, Circa 150 BC



This elaborately decorated headdress (aka the Loeb Diadem) from the Crimean Peninsula is one of the most magnificent works of gold that has been preserved from the ancient world. Produced in around 150 BC, it probably served as a burial object. It is composed of multiple separately crafted pieces: The lower part is dominated by a Heracles knot made up of garnet and gold elements. The ends on both sides are encased in sheaths made of gold plating to which the two half-arches of the diadem are attached by means of hinges. The half-arches are covered with a meshed scaly pattern made up of engraved leaf ornaments the edges of which are decorated with gold wires and beads. Inlaid garnets present a sensational play of colors. On the right and the left, the half-arches are finished off with decorative capsules with rich scrolled and cord trimmings.



The front section of the headdress is decorated with tasseled pendants, all of which have the same structure: an array of rosette-studded discs, garnet pearls flanked with hemispheric flower bowls, and bundles of chains, to which gold beads and garnet, carnelian and white-banded sardonyx pearls set in gold are attached. The goldsmith created the figures that were soldered to the centre section of the diadem in one distinct design stage. Here you see two sea dragons, one on either side of the winged goddess of victory, Nike, who is wearing a girdled garment , a chiton, and is carrying an offering cup or a wreath in her right hand.

Source: Archaic Wonder

From "survivor" to "dowager duchess" Lady Mei

Depiction of ancient Chinese concubines
A tomb that tells the remarkable story of a Ming Dynasty 'superwoman' has been uncovered in Nanjing, China.

The 500-year-old burial chamber contains two stone epitaphs revealing the life of Lady Mei, a former concubine described as an 'unwashed and unkempt' woman.

Later in life, she overcame her background to become an influential adviser to her son, a provincial duke, and a favorite of the Chinese emperor.


The 500-year-old tomb contains two stone epitaphs revealing the life of Lady Mei.


















The epitaphs, found inside the brick tomb, reveal that Lady Mei was a 21-year-old "unwashed and unkempt" woman who "called herself the survivor." Later she became the mother of a duke who ruled a province in southwest China. Lady Mei came to wield much power, providing her son with "strategies for bringing peace to the barbarian tribes and pacifying faraway lands," according to the epitaphs, which were translated from Chinese.

A Ming Dynasty tomb contained gold treasure. The treasures in her more than 500-year-old tomb include gold bracelets, a gold fragrance box and gold hairpins, all inlaid with a mix of gemstones, including sapphires, rubies and turquoise. See Images of Lady Mei's Tomb and Gold Treasures.


A fragrance box with gold chain. It is decorated with lotus petal decorations and seven characters written in Sanskrit. The remaining gems include four sapphires, five rubies and one turquoise. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

A gold hairpin in the shape of a chrysanthemum (flowering plant). It has a large ruby at center and a mix of smaller sapphires and rubies on its petals. The diameter at the largest point is 11.7 centimeters (4.6 inches). The total weight of the artifact is 218.2 grams (more than 7.5 ounces). (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

Two gold hairpins with branches and tendril patterns. The hairpin at left has three sapphires, three rubies, one crystal and one turquoise. The one at right has two sapphires, four rubies and one cat’s eye stone. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

A gold hairpin with a seven petal lotus design. A large ruby gemstone is still preserved at center. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

This gold hairpin is decorated with a mix of sapphires and rubies. The hairpin is 14.2 centimeters (5.6 inches) in width and its weight is 148.7 grams (more than 5 ounces). (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

A pair of gold bracelets found in the tomb. Both of them are about 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) in diameter. The bracelets have flower designs and the gemstones are a mix of sapphires, rubies and turquoise. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics)

 


 Gold Hairpin with the Flame Design

Gold Earrings
  
Archaeologists from Nanjing Municipal Museum and the Jiangning District Museum of Nanjing City excavated the tomb in 2008, and their findings were recently translated into English and published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. Lady Mei's coffin was damaged by water, but her skeletal remains were found.

From "survivor" to "dowager duchess"


Researchers say that Lady Mei was one of three wives of Mu Bin, a Duke of Qian who ruled Yunnan, a province in southwest China on the country's frontier.

Born in 1430, she probably would have been about 15 years old when she married the duke, who would've been more than 30 years older than her, researchers say.

She probably didn't enjoy the same status as his other two wives. "Lady Mei was probably a concubine whom he married after he went to guard and rule Yunnan," wrote researchers in the journal article.

But while Lady Mei was a concubine, her own family appears to have had some wealth: Her great-great grandfather "Cheng" was a general who "won every battle" and was granted a fiefdom over "1,000 households," read the epitaphs.

Lady Mei's life changed when she gave birth to the duke's son, Mu Zong, who was 10 months old when the duke died. The newly widowed Lady Mei "was only 21 years of age. She was unwashed and unkempt, and called herself the survivor," the epitaphs say.

She took charge of Mu Zong's upbringing, grooming him to be the next duke.

"She raised the third-generation duke. She managed the family with strong discipline and diligence, and kept the internal domestic affairs in great order, and no one had any complaint," the epitaphs read.

Lady Mei "urged him to study hard mornings and evenings, and taught him loyalty and filial devotion, as well as services of duty."

When Mu Zong came of age, he and Lady Mei traveled to meet the emperor, who charged him with controlling Yunnan, the province his father had ruled. The emperor was pleased with Lady Mei and, sometime after the meeting, awarded her the title of "Dowager Duchess," according to the epitaphs. [Photos: Ancient Chinese Warriors Protect Emperor's Secret Tomb]

As Mu Zong began his rule over Yunnan, he relied on his mother for advice.

"Every morning when the third-generation duke got up, after taking care of official business, he returned to pay respect to the Dowager Duchess in the main hall," the epitaphs read.

"The Dowager Duchess would always talk to the third-generation duke about her loyalty to the emperor, and kind concerns for the people under the rule of the departed former duke, and strategies for bringing peace to the barbarian tribes and pacifying faraway lands."

Lady Mei's death

Lady Mei died at age 45 in the year 1474. The epitaphs say that she passed away of illness in southern Yunnan and was brought to Nanjing for burial.

"On the day of her death, the people of Yunnan, military servicemen or civilians, old and young, all mourned and grieved for her as if their own parents had passed away," the epitaphs read.

"When the obituary reached the imperial court, the emperor sent out officials and ordered them to consecrate and prepare for the funeral and burial."

The epitaphs praise her role in nurturing the young duke and preparing him for the responsibilities of ruling Yunnan. "Using her love and her hard work, she raised and educated the child, and brought him up to be a man of ability and good moral character …" the epitaphs read.

First uncovered in 2008, the epitaphs have now been translated and published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. Inscribed on the stone epitaphs are Chinese figures revealing she died in the year 1474 at the age of 45.

"Why did heaven bestow all the virtues upon her, while being so ungenerous as not to give her more years to live?" the epitaphs ask. "Although the will of heaven is remote and profound, it needs to be spread among millions of people."

The reason why Lady Mei was buried in Nanjing, instead of the province which she helped rule, could be because Nanjing was the first capital city of the first Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang. Nanjing is also considered by many to have a particularly good feng shui orientation.



The team's report was initially published, in Chinese, in the journal Wenwu. The excavation crew chief was Haining Qi.

Sources Live Science and Daily Mail