02 Feb 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.

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.

31 Jan 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.

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.

21 Jun The Franks Casket (detail from the front), Anglo-Saxon carved bone casket, ca. 8th century AD, Northumbria, England.The box is made of whale’s bone, richly carved on the sides and lid in high relief with a range of scenes with accompanying text in both the runic and Roman alphabets and in both Old English and Latin. The front is divided into two scenes: the left is derived from the Germanic legend of Weland the Smith, while the right depicts the Adoration of the Magi, when the three wise men visited the newborn Christ, labelled ‘mægi’ in runes. Surprisingly, the main runic inscription on the front does not refer to the scene it surrounds. It is a riddle in Old English relating to the origin of the casket. It can be translated as ‘The fish beat up the seas on to the mountainous cliff; the King of terror became sad when he swam onto the shingle.’ This is then answered with the solution ‘Whale’s bone.’ It tells us that the casket was made from the bone of a beached whale. - britishmuseum.org

The Franks Casket (detail from the front), Anglo-Saxon carved bone casket, ca. 8th century AD, Northumbria, England.

The box is made of whale’s bone, richly carved on the sides and lid in high relief with a range of scenes with accompanying text in both the runic and Roman alphabets and in both Old English and Latin. The front is divided into two scenes: the left is derived from the Germanic legend of Weland the Smith, while the right depicts the Adoration of the Magi, when the three wise men visited the newborn Christ, labelled ‘mægi’ in runes. Surprisingly, the main runic inscription on the front does not refer to the scene it surrounds. It is a riddle in Old English relating to the origin of the casket. It can be translated as ‘The fish beat up the seas on to the mountainous cliff; the King of terror became sad when he swam onto the shingle.’ This is then answered with the solution ‘Whale’s bone.’ It tells us that the casket was made from the bone of a beached whale. - britishmuseum.org

20 Jun Medieval linen bra, ca. 15th century, Lengberg Castle, East Tyrol, Austria.
Up until now there was nothing to indicate the existence of bras with clearly visible cups before the 19th century. Textiles found in a castle in Eastern Tyrol now prove that there already was clothing similar to modern bras in the 15th century – a discovery made by Beatrix Nutz, an archaeologist from the University of Innsbruck.
This “bra” is the one that resembles a modern bra the most.  At the first assessment this garment was referred to in German as “Mieder” (= corselette in English) by the excavating archaeologists. It can also be described with the term “longline bra”. The cups are each made from two pieces of linen sewn together vertically. The surrounding fabric of somewhat coarser linen extends down to the bottom of the ribcage with a row of six eyelets on the left side of the body for fastening with a lace. The corresponding row of eyelets is missing. Needle-lace is sewn onto the cups and the fabric above thus decorating the cleavage. In the triangular area between the two cups there might have been additional decoration, maybe another sprang-work. - pasthorizonspr.com
full article : http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2012/medieval-lingerie-discovered

Medieval linen bra, ca. 15th century, Lengberg Castle, East Tyrol, Austria.

Up until now there was nothing to indicate the existence of bras with clearly visible cups before the 19th century. Textiles found in a castle in Eastern Tyrol now prove that there already was clothing similar to modern bras in the 15th century – a discovery made by Beatrix Nutz, an archaeologist from the University of Innsbruck.

This “bra” is the one that resembles a modern bra the most.  At the first assessment this garment was referred to in German as “Mieder” (= corselette in English) by the excavating archaeologists. It can also be described with the term “longline bra”. The cups are each made from two pieces of linen sewn together vertically. The surrounding fabric of somewhat coarser linen extends down to the bottom of the ribcage with a row of six eyelets on the left side of the body for fastening with a lace. The corresponding row of eyelets is missing. Needle-lace is sewn onto the cups and the fabric above thus decorating the cleavage. In the triangular area between the two cups there might have been additional decoration, maybe another sprang-work. - pasthorizonspr.com

full article : http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2012/medieval-lingerie-discovered

19 Jun 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

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

19 Apr Fra Filippo Lippi, Coronation of the Virgin (detail), 1441-47, Tempera on wood. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
A bit of Renaissance, for a change :) Here’s a work by Botticelli’s master.
This detail is one of my favorite because of its finesse, its delicate colours and very precise drawing. Lippi appears here as a skilled colourist, particularly in the fabrics, with rich golden silks and a beautiful transparent veil interlaced in this young girl’s hair. The character is perfectly drawn, in the typical canon Lippi invented, with a round face over a small pointy chin. 

Fra Filippo Lippi, Coronation of the Virgin (detail), 1441-47, Tempera on wood. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

A bit of Renaissance, for a change :) Here’s a work by Botticelli’s master.

This detail is one of my favorite because of its finesse, its delicate colours and very precise drawing. Lippi appears here as a skilled colourist, particularly in the fabrics, with rich golden silks and a beautiful transparent veil interlaced in this young girl’s hair. The character is perfectly drawn, in the typical canon Lippi invented, with a round face over a small pointy chin. 

29 May

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

04 May 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.

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.

02 Feb Red-figures Lucanian pottery, ca. AD 400. Museo Nazionale Archeologico, Italy. 
A youthful Dionysos, seated on a rock and wearing high fur-lined boots, fancy head-dress and only a mantle over his thighs , watches a maenad dance to the pipes. Behind him a female wearing an animal skin over a long-sleeved, short-skirted dress and high boots, holds a torch over his head and a situla. A stayr, at ease, watches. - beazley.ox.ac.uk

Red-figures Lucanian pottery, ca. AD 400. Museo Nazionale Archeologico, Italy. 

A youthful Dionysos, seated on a rock and wearing high fur-lined boots, fancy head-dress and only a mantle over his thighs , watches a maenad dance to the pipes. Behind him a female wearing an animal skin over a long-sleeved, short-skirted dress and high boots, holds a torch over his head and a situla. A stayr, at ease, watches. - beazley.ox.ac.uk

30 Jan

Early Bronze Age amber necklace from the ‘Golden Barrow’, Upton Lovell, Britain.

One of the richest Bronze Age burials yet discovered in Wessex, it was excavated by William Cunnington in 1803 and may have been the grave of a woman. The central piece was this necklace formed from hundreds of amber beads. - wiltshireheritage.org.uk