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View the masterpieces of this collection

Panoramic view of Hall 5 of the Gold Rooms

The discovery near Kerch (the ancient Pantikapaion, capital of the Bosporan kingdom) of the Kul-Oba burial mound in the year 1830 awoke great interest among the Russian public in the antiquities of the northern Black Sea coast. Hitherto unknown works of artistic metal and jewellery came into the Imperial Hermitage.

With time the museum formed an exceptionally varied and rich archaeological collection that includes masterpieces by jewellers of the Ancient World. The greater part of the collection consists of finds made during the excavation of burial mounds and cemeteries near the Greek settlements on the northern Black Sea coast.

Here, in the Bosporus area, a culture formed that reflected the interaction of two worlds - the Hellenic and the barbarian. The works in the Hermitage collection are good illustrations of its distinctive features: the gold torque (4th century B.C., Kul-Oba), for example, is a symbol of authority in barbarian societies that was produced in a Greek workshop. Among the masterpieces of the collection is an earring of miniature workmanship (4th century B.C., Kul-Oba) decorated with the finest granulation, filigree and two figures of the goddess Nike. The Hermitage has seven similar earrings, examples of what is known as the "luxurious style"

The development of the jewellers’ art among the Greeks can be traced through the objects found on the northern Black Sea coast and in the surrounding areas. In early works, for example, the main decoration was a smooth surface, the shine of which was set off by the matte sheen of granulation. In the Classical era the favourite method of decorating pieces became a striking pattern of filigree ornament combined with fine granulation and insets of muted enamel. A remarkable example of this style is a necklace from the Bolshaya Bliznitsa burial mound on the Taman peninsula. In the Hellenistic era new "polychrome" style appeared in jewellery. Pieces were abundantly decorated with coloured stones and insets of enamel and glass.

View the masterpieces of this collection

Panoramic view of Hall 5 of the Gold Rooms

 


Horn with a tip in the form of a half-figure of a dog
Mid-5th century BC


Gold necklace with granular pendants and links with scrolls and rosettes
425-400 BC


Pair of gold earrings with a figure of Artemis
325-300 BC

 

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