Monday, December 19, 2011

Treasures sought after or stumbled upon

Bronze vessel with five lion heads, probably used for burning incense
 Looking through Lost Treasures: The World's Great Riches Rediscovered reminded me of an unbelievably cool installation I found out about on The History Blog (which I highly recommend).  A collaborative project called Etruscanning 3D has digitized an Etruscan tomb from the 7th century BC, as well as all the artifacts that were removed from it, so that viewers can experience the site as it looked when it was first discovered in 1836.
"Within they found at least two burials in four chambers — a lavishly adorned woman of royal status in the end cell, ashes in a bronze funerary urn in the right chamber — and evidence of one more — a bronze bed in the antechamber next to a chariot indicating a warrior burial. They also found an amazing wealth of precious artifacts, elaborate furnishings, silverware, gilded and bronze vessels decorated with lions and griffins, and immense golden pectoral pieces and a golden disc fibula which had once covered the body of the princess."
This video shows what the interactive exhibit will be like.

 This is the fibula (i.e., a brooch or clasp):

"This breastplate [below] was worn by the deceased woman in the end cell who thus appeared to the amazed discoverers as literally covered in gold. It consists of a single laminated sheet shaped and decorated with embossed work with a series of 16 different punches. The decoration is divided into strips that follow the margins, going around the central emblem, and are characterized by the serial repetition of the same motif. Starting from the outer strip we see the following series of illustrations: broken line; grazing male ibex; winged lion; chimera with two protomes; pegasus; rear view of lion; grazing deer; woman in a tunic with a palm frond; winged lion, winged woman, lion. In the central emblem: semicircular decorations with overlapping spirals and stems, winged lions, women with palms and four male figures, each holding the front paws of a pair of rampant lions."—Vatican Museum website

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