- Material : Sardonyx Shell, 15 k gold tested.
- Size: 2 2/32" by 1 6/8". Only cameo is 1 5/8" by 1 3/8" .
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850/1860 Italy, frame could be English.
- Conditions: Shell has a tiniest stress line starting at circa 3.00 hours. I can feel it a bit under my fingernail only at its end and only from the back, it does not go through to the front. It can be seen only if the cameo is held to light. A small gold leaf decoration on the frame is lost.
Rarest subject in a museum quality cameo. Athena (Minerva), Goddess of War and Wisdom, allegorically depicted as Roma. The she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus are featured on her helmet. An eagle too is carved on her helmet, eagle was the symbol of Rome and the symbol of Zeus, the king of Gods and father of Athena ( Minerva) A real exceptional and rarest piece. The frame is wonderful too. The pictures really don't give any justice to this work of art. This is an incredible, very detailed cameo, carved by an artist. Rarest cameo and subject very desirable collectors' piece.
A bit of history:
In the Greek mythology Athena, daughter of Zeus, was the goddess of Wisdom, of the Weaving, of the Arts, and, presumably, of the noblest sides of the War, while the violence and the cruelty were part of the dominion of Ares. The sacred symbols were the owl and the olive. She is almost always represented with a helmet or a shield and with the Aegis (a short armour with fringes) with in the center the head of Medusa given by Perseus to Athena in sign of thanks for the help had when he faced the Medusa. Athena never had an husband or lover and for this she was known like Athena Parthenos (the Virgin Athena), from which the name of the most famous temple dedicated to her, the Parthenon on Athen's Acropolis.