- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested.
- Size: 2 2/8" by 2 5/8" only cameo is 2 1/8" by 1 6/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy
- Conditions: Immaculate.
More than Museum Quality and huge cameo depicting Nike, the winged Victory, conducting the four horses of the Sun. This cameo is probably after an ancient Roman coin, see picture below, issued in 47 BC. This one, as the most of the photographed cameos, is much better seen in person. Being the carving so white it reflects the light and doesn't look as it really is. A true masterpiece in immaculate conditions. The palm leaf held by Nike is one of her symbols. This cameo communicate me fluidity and movement. The carving on this cameo is really superb. The background is dark brown so the carving results to be whiter. Darker background means a high quality shell. Look at the horses, they are so realistic, their strong muscles are evidenced and you can have the impression that they are actually galloping. The beauty and elegance of Nike, her delicate movements, the wind that moves her flowing robe, every detail is masterly rendered. This is one of most beautiful Nike cameo that I have ever seen, the pictures speak by themselves but as most of the cameos that I have on my site even this one is much better when seen in person, the pictures are wonderful but they are not able to capture all the beauty of this gorgeous piece. The frame is wonderful too, so elaborate and totally engraved. This is another more than masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
Nike is Victory. She is often seen in company of Athena, who never puts up with defeat. There are no myths attached to her, but she is an old goddess, born before the OLYMPIANS. She lives in Olympus close to Zeus, together with her brothers Zelus, Cratos and Bia. In Greek mythology Nike, meaning Victory, was a goddess who personified triumph throughout the ages of the ancient Greek culture. She is known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of Pallas( Titan) and Styx (Water), and the sister of Cratos( Strength), Bia (Force), and of Zelus (Rivalry). Nike and her siblings all became described as attendants of Zeus when his cult gained the position of the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon and the roles of older deities were changed in new myths. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, the reason for this, is to remind people that victory is fleeting. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the Goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena Goddess of wisdom. Nike is one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.