- Material : Cornelian Shell
- Size: 2 2/32" by just over 1 5/8"
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850/1860 Italy, frame could be English, brass.
- Conditions: Mint, a couple of shell lines by origin, NO STRESS LINES OR CRACKS.
Museum Quality Cameo depicting Athena Parthenos, after a sculpture of Phidias. The original statue was lost but there are several Roman copies located in Italian, Franch and Greek Museums. Athena is here portrayed with her sumptous helmet with a greek sphynx in the middle and winged horses on the side, On her breast there is the head of Medusa that Perseus gave her after he killed the Gorgon. The frame is unusual and made of brass, a decorative dragonfly is on the the left side of the frame. There are a couple of lines by origin, they are own veins of the shell and they are NOT CRACKS OR STRESS LINES. One of them is visible on the front, the other one is on the back where is the dragonfly. See the cameo help up to the light and you see that it is in perfect conditions. This is an incredible work of art, 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.