- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 9 and 15K gold tested, seed pearls.
- Size: 2 6/8" by just under 2 1/2" cameo only is 2 3/8" by 1 7/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1840/1850 Italy, frame could be English.
- Conditions: More than excellent, a couple of hairlines barely noticeable when the cameo is front lit, more noticeable when it is held up to light, a tiniest stress line which is about 4-5/32" long at circa 2.00 hours, gold is a bit tarnished on some points.
There are new pictures for this cameo taken with different lights and angles which are necessary to allow you to easily catch the real beauty of the cameo in every detail, difficult task to do through simple pictures.
Museum Quality cameo depicting an Amazon after a very famous sculpture of Phidias, see pictures below, made for the temple of Goddess Diana in Efeso (modern Turkey). This cameo is a rarest subject and never seen before. The carving is more than superb. Finding a museum quality cameo of an Amazon is really rarest. Everything is perfectly carved and so realistic. Her attributes are shown, the bow, the shield, the axe, the helmet. Between her side and her left arm there is a quiver to put her arrows in. Behind her there is a landscape and you can see even a monument that is the Coliseum. The facial features are not so delicate but perfectly done. This is a real work of art, simply amazing. Look at the grace of her face, what a work of art. The frame is another work of art, gold leaves and seed pearls, finely worked and engraved, completes the beauty of this cameo. The pictures really don't give any justice to this stunning piece, but I can assure you all that this is a piece that can take your breath away. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rarest and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
The Amazons are a nation of all-female warriors in Classical and Greek mythology. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Asia Minor or Libya. Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle was the object of one of the labours of Hercules. Amazonian raiders were often depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art. The Amazons have become associated with various historical peoples throughout the Roman Empire period and Late Antiquity. In Roman historiography, there are various accounts of Amazon raids in Asia Minor. From the Early Modern period, their name has become a term for woman warriors in general.
Amazons were said to have lived in Pontus, which is part of modern day Turkey near the shore of the Euxine Sea (the Black Sea). There they formed an independent kingdom under the government of a queen named Hippolyta or Hippolyte ("loose, unbridled mare"). The Amazons were supposed to have founded many towns, amongst them Smyrna, Ephesus, Sinope, and Paphos. According to the dramatist Aeschylus, in the distant past they had lived in Scythia (modern Crimea), at the Palus Maeotis
("Lake Maeotis", the Sea of Azov), but later moved to Themiscyra on the River Thermodon (the Terme river in northern Turkey). Herodotus called them Androktones
("killers of men"), and he stated that in the Scythian language they were called Oiorpata
, which he asserted had this meaning. In some versions of the myth, no men were permitted to have sexual encounters or reside in Amazon country; but once a year, in order to prevent their race from dying out, they visited the Gargareans, a neighbouring tribe. The male children who were the result of these visits were either killed, or sent back to their fathers or exposed in the wilderness to fend for themselves; the females were kept and brought up by their mothers, and trained in agricultural pursuits, hunting, and the art of war. In other versions when the Amazons went to war they would not kill all the men. Some they would take as slaves, and once or twice a year they would have sex with their slaves. In the Iliad
, the Amazons were referred to as Antianeira
("those who fight like men"). The Amazons appear in Greek art of the Archaic period and in connection with several Greek legends. They invaded Lycia, but were defeated by Bellerophon, who was sent against them by Iobates, the king of that country, in the hope that he might meet his death at their hands. The tomb of Myrine is mentioned in the Iliad
; later interpretation made of her an Amazon: according to Diodorus,Queen Myrine led her Amazons to victory against Libya and much of Gorgon. They are heard of in the time of Alexander, when some of the great king's biographers make mention of Amazon Queen Thalestris visiting him and becoming a mother by him.
The statue of the Amazon
Phidias was an Athenian sculptor, the son of Charmides, and is generally acknowledged as the greatest ancient Greek sculptor and instigator of the classical style of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Although few facts are known about his life, it is believed he lived from around 490 until 430 BC. The Amazon sculpted in white marble was made for the Temple of Diana (Artemis) in Efeso. the statue dates back to 440–430 BC and is now in the Capitoline Museum In Rome. After it many copies have been made, as in the Roman Era as in more recent times and they are all in the most important Museum of the World. A copy made in 1693 by the French sculptor Buirette is the garden of the Versailles Castle in France.