Greek Gold Griffin Protome
Greek · ca. 7th century B.C.
H: 4 cm (1.5 in)
Masterfully executed sculptural jewel of monumental quality, representing a griffin, the hybrid mythological animal with the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle. It is the creature that projects strength in its duality. The gold-guarding griffins were associated with gold deposits in the Black Sea region. Indeed, as Pliny, the Elder wrote: “griffins were said to lay eggs in burrows on the ground and these nests contained gold nuggets.” This miniature masterwork would have been attached to a small gold ceremonial cauldron.
Art market, prior to 2001;
The Gilbert Collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was acquired in Geneva, 13 November 2001.
The Gilbert Collection: by Phoenix Ancient Art, New York, 2019, no. 153
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2002 – 2014;
La Biennale, Grand Palais, Paris, 11-17 September 2019;
PAD London, Berkeley Square, London, 30 September 6 – October 2019