Handicraft Jewellery of Mediterranean

Country: Portugal
Year: 2021
Release Date: 12 Jul 2021

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Press Release
At the dawn of our era, the Greek geographer Strabo devoted a section of his Geographica to praising the auriferous wealth of the Iberian Peninsula, particularly the southwestern regions (Geog. 3.2.8), and archaeology has shown this praise to be warranted. From the start of the Metal Age, gold was the favoured medium for experimentation and the preferred means of producing luxury objects: large jewellery pieces of solid gold (some weighing well over two pounds), which marked the end of the Bronze Age.
This wealth, and the trade of other metals – such as bronze, an alloy; its constituent parts, copper and tin; and iron, the technology of which had an impact at civilisational level – established a network of contacts covering the entire Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Ore, as well as finished objects (or sometimes scrap-metal) travelled, as did luxury products of eastern origin – from the Levant, Asia Minor, Egypt – which the Phoenicians produced according to artistic styles that mixed several of these influences.
In this way, the Phoenicians brought to the peninsula new techniques in goldsmithing, such as filigree and granulation, and demonstrated the hitherto unsuspected potentials of other previously known techniques, such as the stamping of fine sheets as a decorative process. New types of jewellery also became popular, among them the arrecada (an earring with a double hanging system). Earrings were not unknown in Bronze Age jewellery, but the surge in their use during the Iron Age revealed a social trend with broader roots, with which the technology kept pace: the increased value placed on jewellery for women.
Jewellery was imported from the east, but the impact was much more profound, and Iberian goldsmiths quickly learned and used these new techniques. There are even some cases of pieces that, from a formal and constructional point of view, are typical of the Bronze Age, but which were decorated with details of eastern inspiration.
The production of large, ostentatious jewellery, however, was abandoned – perhaps because other ways were found to express the affirmation of power – and these Iberian goldsmiths, over generations, created new models, some highly original, always based on the Mediterranean influences of old.
This issue shows an example of an imported piece and another piece produced on the Peninsula.
The Gaio arrecada is a ‘trumpet earring,’ characteristic for its crescent-shaped body that holds a decorative crown composed of various trumpets. It is a hollow earring, formed of multiple stamped pieces, which heighten its visual impact with a minimum amount of the precious metal. It can be dated to the late 7th or early 6th century B.C.E. Of particular interest is the point where each of the trumpets is joined to the crescent-shaped body by a minuscule human head, which represents the Egyptian goddess Hathor.
The arrecadas were found in a grave in the Sines region of Portugal, along with other pieces of goldwork and imported objects, constituting a funerary hoard of considerable worth.
Monte Molião, near Lagos, was a significant indigenous settlement on the Algarve coast throughout the Iron Age.
The Monte Molião arrecada is a ‘spirals pendant earring,’ characteristic for its plaque of six contiguous spirals (arranged in an inverted pyramid: 3-2-1), each decorated with a central granule, and with other filigree appliqués in other parts of the earring, which also had some settings for semi-precious stones (we know that carnelian and turquoise, at least, were used) or glass paste, of which remain only the prongs to hold the stone in place). Datable to the early 5th century B.C.E., it is typical of production in the southwest of the peninsula; a related workshop operating in Cabeça de Vaiamonte (Estremoz) produced filigree earrings during the late 2nd century B.C.E.
Virgílio Hipólito Correia
€0,54 - 100 000
€0,88 - 100 000
Atelier Design&etc / Hélder Soares
€0,54 Arrecada do Monte Molião, séc. V a.C.
photo: José Pessoa / Museu Municipal de Sines.
€0,88 Arrecada do Gaio, séc. VI a.C.
photo: Luísa Oliveira / Museu Nacional de Arqueologia.
Brochure cover
Bracelete de Torre Vã, Bronze final.
photo: José Pessoa / Museu Nacional de Arqueologia.
Brinco de Santana de Cambas, Idade do Ferro Antigo.
photo: Júlia Redondo / Museu Nacional de Arqueologia
Paper: FSC 110g/m2
Size: 40 x 30,6 mm
Perforation: 12 ¼ x 12 e Cruz de Cristo / and Cross of Christ
Printing: offset
Printer: Cartor
Sheets: Com 50 ex. / with 50 copies
FDC: C6 – €0,56
Brochure: €0,85