- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 9k gold tested.
- Size: 2 1/2" by 2 1/8" only cameo is 2" by 1 5/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
- Conditions: Excellent, two slightest natural shell lines just above Diana's head, not visible by naked eye, a small dent on the frame where it is a little bent, at circa 5:00 hours, a small piece of the round gold decoration on the frame is missed, at circa 7:00 hours, gold is a bit tarnished on the back.
This is a more than excellent quality cameo depicting the Goddess Diana hunting companied by her dog and by Cupid and Psyche. A rarest subject never seen before, usually the Goddess Diana is depicted along her dog or along a deer, so this scene is indeed unusual. Diana is here portrayed wearing a long flowing robe on her perfect body, her legs are nude as her feet. She is also wearing an ankle bracelet. She's holding her arch, one of her symbols. Cupid is holding her quiver and Psyche is spreading flowers while the dog happily jumps. This is a very bucolic and idyllic scene. These kind of scenes depicting a return to nature were very popular in the Victorian era. All the details in this cameo are finely carved and the carving is high relieved. The frame is made in Etruscan revival style and the back is closed by a glazed compartment lined with fabric. A wonderful cameo depicting a rarest subject, absolutely to not to be missed.
A bit of history :
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and birthing, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and also of the moon and having the power to talk to and control animals. In literature she was the equivalent of the Greek goddess Artemis, the goddess of forests, hills, virginity/fertility, and the hunt and was often depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. Diana was worshipped in ancient Roman religion Along with her main attributes, Diana was an emblem of chastity Oak groves were especially sacred to her. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, Diana, Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry. According to mythology, Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a trinity with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.