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Creator Name: Unknown
Creator Nationality: European; Southern European; Mediterranean
Creator Dates/Places: Ancient Greece Early Western World,Ancient Mediterranean,Ancient
Creator Active Place: Early Western World,Ancient Mediterranean,Ancient
Creator Name-CRT: Greek
Title: Pair of Griffin Protomes
Title Type: preferred
View: profile view of 1994.38.1
Creation Start Date: -62
Creation End Date: -57
Creation Date: Orientalizing Period, late 7th/early 6th century B.C.
Creation Place: Early Western World,Ancient Mediterranean,Ancient Greece
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Bronze, bone or ivory inlay
Dimensions: H.: 20.3 cm (8 in.)
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1994.38.1-2
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, Katherine K. Adler Endowment
Subject Description: 1994.38.1 Griffin with one eye.1994.38.2 Griffin with two eyes.Griffins were mythical creatures, part eagle, part lion, which derived from Near Eastern prototypes. The Greeks believed that they guarded gold. Cast-bronze ornaments such as these protomes (upper body of a figure) were mounted on the shoulders of large bronze cauldrons that were used as ritual vessels, dedications to deities, and prizes.
Context: Greek, probably from the island of Samos. Bronze cauldrons decorated with protomes were first made in the Near East and were later copied by Greek metalworkers on the island of Samos and in the region of the Peloponnesus on the mainland. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus (c. 485-425 B.C.) wrote that traders from Samos took a tenth of their profit from a successful trading venture in Spain to make a cauldron 'with griffins' heads projecting from the rim all round.' They placed it in the temple of Hera as a dedication to the goddess. Because the bodies of such vessels were made of more fragile hammered bronze, most cauldrons have disintegrated, and only the heavier cast-bronze ornaments remain. The size of these heads suggests that the cauldron wasof monumental size. As many as twelve protomes could be riveted to the shoulder of a cauldron. (Note the remaining rivets on these protomes.)
AMICA ID: AIC_.1994.38.1-2
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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