• Italy
  • 3rd - 1st centuries B.C.
Catalogue Entry

This gold earring has a glass pendant in the shape of a peacock. The peacock's beak to neck, both wings, legs, and tail feathers are all formed as a single unit from gold wire. Glass was then fired onto these wires and attached to form the body of the peacock. The glass surface has weathered and become iridescent overall and hence its original color is hard to determine, but it was probably blue and white. Both wings may have been decorated with dotting patterns. The tail is in spread shape, made from gold disks and the bean-shaped depressions on the front and back of this disk have been filled with enamel. The peacock hangs from a rosette-decorated gold disk and the petals on the rosettes are also enameled. A bell-shaped chain hangs from the edges of the disk. Only one chain is extant, but originally this is thought to have been one of a pair. Gold earrings with glass bird pendant have been excavated in Taranto in southeast Italy1), and there is also an example in the American collection of Shelby White and Leon Levy2).

1)Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli ed., The Western Greeks, 1996, Milan, p. 735, no. 311.
2)Dietrich von Bothmer ed., Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection, 1990, New York, pp. 195-6, no. 141b.