Saturday, December 31, 2011

Art of the European Bronze Age

As a New Year's present to myself, I post some of my favorite objects. These are all from the European Bronze Age, 2200 to 800 BC, an age just beyond the reach of written records or real understanding, but enough like the better documented societies of the late Iron Age that we can imagine what these people were like and how they thought about the world. Above, sword hilts from Switzerland.

One of the Vilso helmets from Denmark, ca. 900 BC.

An arm band from Germany, ca. 1400 BC. From the Neolithic to the coming of Christianity, Europeans were fascinated with spirals.

Cult object from Denmark in the form of a solar chariot.

Stone gorget, Germany 2nd millennium BC.

The Nebra Disk, from Germany, ca. 1600 BC. This disk, about 30 cm (a foot) across, depicts the moon, the sun, and the Pleiades, and it may have been an astronomical device used to calculate when to add an intercalary (13th) month to the year.

Bronze "arm guard" from Hungary, ca. 1300 BC.

Gold hanging bowl.

The golden hat of Berlin, one of three or four such monumentally silly hats from Bronze Age ceremonial sites.

Two bronze pins, ca. 800 BC.

Gold lunula from Ireland.

Bronze diadem from the Carpathians, ca. 1000 BC. What if the Bronze Age was actually the great era of silly hats, but since most of them were made of cloth or hide, only a few gold and bronze examples have survived?

Like this! (The Petrie Crown from Ireland.)

Gold cope, now in the British Museum.

Jet necklace from Scotland.

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