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)





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 

Ancient Celtic jewelry.


A gold fibula, decorated with the figure of a naked warrior, wearing a Celtic helmet, with a scabbard suspended from his waist and carrying a sword (scabbard and pommel are both of La Tene type). The hunting dog jumps up to him. The eyes of both figures were originally inlaid with enamel. The arched bow has eight curls and the side panels are elaborated with running spirals and loops, also originally inlaid with blue enamel, the British Museum.



Treasures of Vix





The kylix was used by ancient Greeks in  the symposium (drinking party) is one of the Treasures of Vix. The painting is of Amazons fighting Greek foot soldiers.

Included in the grave of the Celtic princess was this (510 B.C.) Greek ceremonial drinking cup, a kylix painted with a design of Amazons in battle with Greek foot soldiers. Because Amazons were said have inhabited the northern shore of the Black Sea, this was a popular subject in that region.

It's somewhat of a mystery why this kylix, of no intrinsic value, was placed by the great Krater, along with valuable jewels and a silver drinking cup. Ceramic utensils like this kylix, were placed in graves, as substitutes for the real thing-- gold or silver. Could that be the case with the Kylix -used as a stand-in for a gold cup? Somehow I doubt it. In my novel. Realms of Gold I weave a story around this kylix and its significance to the protagonist.

Pottery, in various shapes and sizes, was also used in feasting, and, like our disposable picnic ware, it wasn't valuable, according to ancient inventory lists Various shapes and sizes of painted pottery was also used in feasting, and, like our disposable picnic ware, it wasn't valuable, according to ancient inventory lists.
   
One of most costly items on the list was a horse, 1500 drachmae, about $5000 in today's money.   Painted pottery was very inexpensive.  For instance, a red figure pelike attributed to the Achilles painter cost 0.15 of a drachmae, equal to fifty cents. 

  
While the beauty of the painting must have been appreciated, it seemed to have contributed nothing to the value of the cup. For the ancient Greeks, major luxury items were gold, silver, ivory and purple.
   
It was in the late 18th century ancient that Greek pottery began to be appreciated as art.
The pelike below is the from the late 6th century B.C. 


A black-figure pelike, like the one pictured below, by an unknown painter sold for over $22,000 at Christie's, London. If it had an Achilles painter attribution, the price would have been much higher because the works of the Achilles painter are  rare.


 
The pelike is an example in the text to show that these pots were not considered works of art by the Greeks,--cost in today''s money. 50 cents

Celts - Gold Torque, Detail

Vix, France.
480 BC




This massive torque or diadem was found in the grave of a powerful woman, consisting of 40 individual parts. The two spheres at the ring terminals are held in the paws of lions. The two small winged horses are reminiscent of Pegasus from Greek mythology and bear witness to increased contact with the Mediterranean world.