- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 9k gold tested.
- Size: 2 5/8" by 2 3/8”, cameo itself is 2 1/8” by 1 5/8”.
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy.
- Conditions: A couple of shell lines just above the head of Eos, not visible by naked eye, noticeable only with the help of a loupe. Gold is a bit tarnished on some points of the frame. Some dents on the edge of frame. I suspect that the frame was adapted to the cameo as the shell comes a bit out of the frame at the bottom.
Museum Quality cameo brooch depicting the Allegory of the Day and Night. The carving is exceptional, Eos and Selene, sisters of Elios and daughters of Iperion and Teia here portrayed together to symbolize the Allegory Day and Night. Eos is the Goddess of the Day (and Dawn) and her sister Selene the Goddess of the Night (and Moon). All the symbols are shown, the ones of the Night as Moon and Star, the Opuim Poppy (Latin: Papaver somniferum) that adorne the veiled head of the Goddess Selene who takes a sleeping attitude with closed eyes and head down, the owl, symbol of the night. The symbols of the Day are too shown, Flowers in her hair, the Goddess taking a widely awake attitude with eyes open and head up, the dove carrying a bunch of flowers. A very popular Victorian subject in a real museum quality cameo. The shell background is very dark so the carving results to be very white, collectors know that the more a shell is dark the more it is rare. This is an incredible work of art, very detailed cameo, carved by an artist. The tubular gold frame is lovely and just typical of the Victorian era, chiselled flowers at the four cardinal points. A true work of art to not to miss.
A bit of history:
Eos is a figure of Greek mythology. She is the Goddess of the Dawn. She is a beautiful and charitable Goddess. She is the daughter of Hyperion. Hyperion is also the father of Helios (the sun) and of Selene (the moon )Hyperion's name means "The one who precedes the Sun", and probably is related to his role like Helios' or Eos' father, the faint light that precedes the rising of the day. Eos has several sons, between them there is Memnone, killed from Achilles during the siege of Troy. From that day the Goddess of the Dawn inconsolably cries the loss of her son every morning and her tears form the dew. Homer calls her the "Goddess with the rosy fingers" for the effect that can be seen in the sky at dawn. Selene, Goddess of the Moon, daughter of Hyperion. her assignment is to bring the moonlight to the humans driving a cart drawn from oxen or from horses that runs after the solar one, in many representations. Generally described like a beautiful woman with pale face that wears long, flowing, white or silver robe and that has on her head a waxing moon and a torch in her hand. In the Greek-Roman mythology tradition the Moon, thanks to the mutability of its aspect that makes it unique between the stars, has been associated to three divinity and tied to three its "events". Full moon, New moon and Waxing moon. Life metaphor (full moon), death (new moon) rebirth (waxing moon). Since time immemorial these three lunar figures have represented the cycle of life involving apparently heterogeneous phenomena like the birth, the death, the fertility, the femininity, the immortality. Selene, (from Selas - Greek) means splendour.