Humanoid Inca figurine, silver, 1400-1533, Peru.
The ear lobes of such figurines were stretched by the weight of the large ear ornament worn by the elite. This elite was called Orejones - which means ‘large ears’ - by the Spanish. Some of these figurines display genitals: they were supposed to bring luck to their owner.
Courtesy of the Museo de America, Madrid.
The Lycurgus Cup, dichroic glass and metal cup, Late Roman, 4th century AD.
This extraordinary cup is the only complete example of a very special type of glass, known as dichroic, which changes colour when held up to the light. The opaque green cup turns to a glowing translucent red when light is shone through it. The glass contains tiny amounts of colloidal gold and silver, which give it these unusual optical properties. The scene on the cup depicts an episode from the myth of Lycurgus, a king of the Thracians (around 800 BC). A man of violent temper, he attacked Dionysos and one of his maenads, Ambrosia. Ambrosia called out to Mother Earth, who transformed her into a vine. She then coiled herself about the king, and held him captive. It has been thought that the theme of this myth - the triumph of Dionysos over Lycurgus - might have been chosen to refer to a contemporary political event, the defeat of the emperor Licinius (reigned AD 308-24) by Constantine in AD 324. - britishmuseum.
Kore 674, paros marble sculpture from the archaic age, Athens, ca 500 BC.
This sculpture from the archaic age depicts a young woman wearing the chiton and the himation. It’s often called ‘the delicata’ because of its very delicate and beautiful features. The smile on her face is also typical of the archaic style in greek art.
photo credit: wikipedia.
Meli-Shipak’s kudurru commemorating a land donation to his son Marduk-apla-iddina, limestone stela, kassite period, Babylon (discovered in Suse where it had been taken away as a spoil of war), ca 1186-1172 BC. The Louvre.
Invented in Babylon during the kassite dynasty, kudurrus are small stelas bearing texts about royal land donations: these official documents were supposed to garantee the donation retrospectively, even if the king was killed or if a new dynasty took the throne. To ensure the respect of the agreement between the king and the private individual, the donation was placed under the protection of major deities and their emblems were sculpted on the kudurrus.
Sculpture of Ramesses II and the hawk god Hurun, granite and limestone, 19th dynasty, Cairo museum.
This sculpture depicts the pharaoh Ramesses II as a child under the protection of the hawk god Hurun, a god associated with Horus during the New Kingdom. Ramesses II carries a small plant of papyrus and a solar disc tops his head. This sculpture is interesting because of its cryptographic meaning: in ancient egyptian, the hawk is called Ra, the child translates as Mes and the papyrus as Su. It is a rebus which spells the name of the pharaoh, Ramessu.
Prehistoric large cup and ring petroglyph at ‘Laxe das Rodas’, Galicia, Spain.
Cup and ring marks or cup marks are a form of prehistoric art found mainly in Atlantic and Mediterranean Europe. They consist of a concave depression, no more than a few centimetres across, pecked into a rock surface and often surrounded by concentric circles also etched into the stone. Sometimes a linear channel called a gutter leads out from the middle. The decoration occurs as a petroglyph on natural boulders and outcrops and also as an element of megalithic art on purposely worked megaliths, and on some stone circles and passage graves. - wikipedia.com
Cuneiform terracota tablets, ca. 1400 BC, Qatna, Syria.
63 cuneiform tablets were discovered in 2002, in a subterranean corridor. They were covered by the burned remains of several roofbeams. Maybe they were hidden during the Hittite invasion. The texts probably belong to the archive of King Idanda and contain both intelligence reports on the political situation in northern Syria, the Hittite threat and domestic and administrative texts. The texts are written in a mixture of the Akkadian and Hurrian languages hitherto unknown. - wikipedia.org
Two terracotta sculptures from the Hōryū-ji temple in Ikaruga (Nara), Japan.
These two sculptures are guardians, situated at each entry of the buddhist temple. Agyo, the red one with its mouth open represents expressed power and Ungyo, the black one with its mouth closed represents latent power. They protect the temple against its ennemies and their fierce attitude is supposed to frighten off people with bad intentions.
photos by JapanPhotos.org.uk.
Ivory carved Pyxis of al-Mughira, 968 AD, Madinat al-Zahra, Spain.
The use of this type of object is uncertain. They could have been used as jewel/precious stones/makeup/perfumes boxes. The recipient of this pyxis was the prince al-Mughira, son of the caliph Abd al-Rahman III. - louvre.fr
This young mammoth on display in the St Petersburg Zoological Museum appears to have been preserved in a peat bog.
It exhibits the classic black, shiny, flattened form of this method of preservation in anaerobic conditions, seen most often in the very detailed remains of humans preserved in peat bogs in northern Europe. - donsmaps.com
Photo: Vladimir Gorodnjanski, 2007.