Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Necklace with the head of the Egyptian god Bes

Period:
Achaemenid
Date:
ca. 6th–4th century B.C.
Geography:
Iran
Culture:
Achaemenid
Medium:
Gold
Dimensions:
L. 14 1/8 in. (85.9 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Ornaments
Credit Line:
Dodge Fund, 1965
Accession Number:
65.169
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 405
In the 5th century B.C. a homogeneous style of Persian court art and architecture was created that derived from the practices of the peoples that the Achaemenid kings ruled over: Ionian Greeks, Lydians, Mesopotamians and Egyptians.

Rich in figural imagery, this necklace is made up of Achaemenid elements, with a head of Bes, an Egyptian god; plaques of a male figure with a horse; and lotus terminals. Depictions of a double-winged Ahura Mazda are rendered in cloisonné on a circular gold earring. Parallels for this jewelry come from the sites of Susa and Pasargadae in southern Iran.
About 1930, gift from King Feisal I of Iraq to Mrs. Janina Hempel, wife of Stanislas Hempel, Polish diplomat in Iraq and Persia; until early 1960s, collection of Mrs. Janina Hempel, Paris; acquired by the Museum in 1965, purchased from Jerome M. Eisenberg, New York.

"Origin and Influence, Cultural Contacts: Egypt, the Ancient Near East, and the Classical World." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, December 18, 1970–April 23, 1971.

“Gold.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, April 14, 1973–September 9, 1973.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department,” MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan, The Aiche Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya, Japan, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, 1983.

Muscarella, Oscar W. 1983. "Necklace with Bes Head and Figure Plaques." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 85.

Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, p. 48, fig. 65.

Stark, Sören. 2012. “Elites and their Connections to the Outside World.” In Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan, exh. cat. edited by Sören Stark and Karen S. Rubinson. New York: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World; Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 116-117, fig. 7-8.
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