May 27 Art Minute: Greek, from Asia Minor (modern Turkey), “Gold Wreath”

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Greek, from Asia Minor (modern Turkey), Gold Wreath. Gold, about 360–325 BCE. W. 12 ¼ in. Gift of The Apollo Society, 1987.3a. Gallery 4

This lavish oak wreath is part of a set of gold jewelry that was made during the reign of Philip II (ruled 356–339 BCE), father of Alexander the Great. It reflects the wealth that poured into the court of Macedon as a result of the king’s conquests and the opening of new gold mines. Such gold wreathes were often worn by guests in banquet halls; gold olive wreathes in particular were awarded to victorious athletes after competitions. This large oak wreath has tissue-thin leaves that tremble with the slightest vibration, making the artificial branches come to life.


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