- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested.
- Size: 1 6/8" by 1 14/32", only cameo is 1 1/2" by 1 6/32".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy.
- Conditions: a few very slight internal natural lines which are very barely visible even when cameo is backlit, not visible when cameo is seen from the front. Some traces of soldering on the back on the pin hinge and another soldering made to attach the security chain, a small dent on the back of the frame.
Museum Quality cameo depicting a Bacchante. Despite it is not too large it is very finely carved and unusual is that she has ivy leaves on her decolletè. She is very pretty and it can be seen clearly. The carving is amazing, very high relieved and masterly made. Her eye is large and she has a very sweet and happy expression. Her nose is straight and perfect, just like the Greek noses which were the model for all the artists, her mouth is curve and full, she's smiling a bit. Look at how the grape vines are carved, they are simply perfect. This is a very lovely cameo of a surpassing beauty. The frame is also beautiful, all massive gold. This one is a very wearable cameo, for all the ones who also love to wear them other than collecting.
A bit of history:
In Greek mythology, maenads (Bacchantes) were the female followers of Dionysus, the most significant members of the Thiasus, the retinue of Dionysus. The maenads were also known as Bacchae or Bacchantes in Roman mythology, after the penchant of the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus, to wear a fox-skin. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a cluster of leaves; they would weave ivy-wreaths and fruiting vines around their heads, and often handle or wear snakes.