Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Earring

Period:
Parthian
Date:
ca. 1st–2nd century
Geography:
Mesopotamia or Iran
Culture:
Parthian
Medium:
Gold
Dimensions:
L. 2-5/16 in.
Classification:
Metalwork-Ornaments
Credit Line:
Museum Accession
Accession Number:
X.94
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 405
This elaborate gold earring features a boat-shaped ring with a pendant "amphora" vase suspended from it that is decorated with three rows of arched perforations and both granular and filigree decoration. A ring at the vase’s bottom indicates that an additional pendant originally hung from it. Five pomegranates hang from rings attached to the pendant vase (there were seven originally); pomegranates, associated with fertility, were a popular subject in jewelry from the ancient Near East. The earring’s production date is determined in part because its design is very similar to a pair discovered buried in a cache in the city of Seleucia that is dated between 40 and 120 A.D.

Parthian wealth obtained through lucrative trade networks resulted in substantial patronage of the arts and luxury goods including jewelry. In addition to surviving examples, representations of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and frontal bands appear in funerary portraits from Palmyra and statuary from Hatra.
Porada, Edith. 1967. "Of Deer, Bells, and Pomegranates." Iranica Antiqua 7, p. 99, pl. XXIV:5.
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