Funeral Jewelry and Appliques from the Adana Museum

Çilem UYGUN

Arkhaia Anatolika 4. Sayı

Arrival Date : 22.06.2021 | Acceptance Date : 21.07.2021

DOI : 10.32949/Arkhaia.2021.37 | Release Date : 10.8.2021 11:36:53

Summary

The burial traditions that began as a special farewell ceremony in the Sanidar Cave were shaped around the thought that the end was actually a beginning and thusly retained their importance in both pagan and theistic religions. The class distinctions created by production, trade, and technological advancements were reflected in burial traditions in the form of variety in grave goods and tomb architecture. Advancements in the military and politics triggered intercultural exchanges that further increased this variety.

When described in relation to burial traditions, mouth/eye bands and decorative appliques are referred to as Funeral/Burial Jewelry in this article. Made of gold leaf, the fact that these objects were unfit for use in daily life supports this identification. These bands, made of gold leaf and appearing in Mesopotamia during the Bronze Age, spread from there to Anatolia, Cyprus, Greece, and the entire Mediterranean Basin. In terms of both form and decoration, some of the richest examples of this group of artifacts, which were preserved in situ in the tombs at Kültepe, were recovered from the necropolises of Cyprus. While death masks were preferred in Mycenaean burial traditions, mouth and eye bands came into fashion in Greece during the Iron Age. Gold leaf appliques, decorated with motifs and cut into various forms, were once again used within the framework of burial traditions as clothing decorations from the Classical Period to the Roman Era.

In this article we have examined 17 artifacts consisting of gold leaf mouth and eye bands, decorative appliques, and a fragment of diadem found in the collection of the Adana Museum. The 10 gold leaf appliques with an oval shape suitable for covering the mouth and eyes were categorized in to two groups: decorated and undecorated. The remaining samples, shaped like equilateral rectangles, lack decoration and are therefore identified as mouth bands. The decorated group consists of seven mouth bands with three having their form and decoration previous defined in the literature. The four strip-shaped samples (cat. no. 5-7), with measurements varying from 3 cm to 6 cm, are unique in that they are shaped to minimize their diadems. Stylistic similarities were reflected in the pattern repertoire and like on the diadems, scenes depicting large gatherings of auxiliary figures together with main figures were preferred. The lip decorations featured on the four mouth bands of standard form (cat. no. 1-4) include depictions of bee and plant motifs. Of the undecorated samples, four are oval shaped (cat. no. 8-11), and one is an equilateral rectangle (cat. no. 12). The only round gold leaf sample was identified as an eye band (cat. no. 13).

The other groups of artifacts analyzed are the rhombus and square appliques made of gold leaf. One of the appliques depicts Nemea and Young Hercules holding the coat of a lion (cat. no. 14), the other depicts Fortuna sitting on a diphros while a female figure presents her with an offering (cat. no. 15). The applique featuring Hercules is exactly the same as the pattern used on Alexander’s silver coins. The other applique depicts one of Fortuna’s characteristic narrations that was used extensively during the Roman Period yet left unrecorded in the literature. The last applique to be analyzed is rectangular and features a row of six central holes sitting one on top of another (cat. no. 16). On the last example, which is thought to belong to the edge of the diadem, there are groups of couple figures (female-male) given face-to-face (cat. no. 17).

Since we do not know the location and context in which these artifacts were found, they have been dated using the analogy method. The lip-shaped mouth bands from Cyprus were dated to the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age for their resemblance to period samples. The sharp-edged oval mouth bands have been dated Classical and Hellenistic Periods, and equilateral rectangle-shaped mouth bands have been dated to the Late Roman Imperial Period. For Gorgo/Medusa and Athena Parthenos with female figures mouth band has been suggested Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Period. The applique with the bust of Hercules was dated to the end of the 4th century BCE, and the gold leaf applique depicting the figure of a woman presenting an offering to Fortuna was dated to the 1st century BCE. The fragment of diadem is dated to 3th and 2nd and BCE.

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Online Kaynaklar

https://www.theoi.com/Text/LucianDialoguesDead1.html (Erişim Tarihi: 15.05.2021)

Uygun, Ç. (2021). Adana Müzesi’nden Cenaze Takıları ve Aplikler. Arkhaia Anatolika, 4, 314-340. https://doi.org/10.32949/Arkhaia.2021.37

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