Thursday, September 26, 2013

Antiquities Ornamentation at The Louvre

We decorate our bodies with ornamentation for many reasons. For the beauty of the object, to enhance our image, or to show our wealth (in some cultures).

Louvre Museum exhibit, Small Antiquities, by DG Hudson 

Designs change as tastes change, but some basic styles appear timeless: necklaces, rings, cuffs, brooches, clasps, hair ornaments. Many of these designs could be worn today. The objects above and below show personal adornments of nobility or royalty.

The quality of workmanship is remarkable considering the tools of the era. Lapis Lazuli, Carnelian, Turquoise, Garnet, Hematite, Amethyst and other semi-precious stones appeared in designs frequently. Emeralds came into use for jewelry during the time when the Romans were in Egypt. Color and motif were important, according to beliefs. Scarabs signified rebirth, and amulets of collected gemstones were worn to protect against various evils: disease, bad luck, demons. . .

Ancient jewellry, Louvre Museum, by DG Hudson


Antiquities buttons or closures or decorative elements on clothing? Finding such small artifacts from bygone times confirms our history on this Earth. The darker emblems feature male profiles and classical faces. This collection at the Louvre, shown below, definitely has a masculine cast. (Attempted lightening the dark areas, but Blogger refused to load that image.)

Louvre Museum, Small Artifacts, Paris, by DG Hudson


A classic style collar necklace shown in the photo below features turquoise with green veins, a desired appeal because of the symbolism of green (life and fertility). This is reminiscent of the necklace style worn in many depictions of Cleopatra.

Louvre Museum antiquities display,by DG Hudson

The bracelet in front of the neckpiece is made of beads that had to be crafted, not machine made. Turquoise was a favorite, its bright colour accented by silver or gold. Copper was also used in small amounts.

This post joins others of my 'personal tour' bites of the Louvre Museum. They are meant to give you a taste of what is hidden behind those stone walls of the former palace. Exhibitions do change but some are permanent. Always check at the online site for updates.


Have you see any exhibits of Egyptian jewelry or adornments? (via a traveling exhibit or?) Do you look at the small artifacts in a museum, the little things under glass?
Do you know how Cleopatra died? Please respond in the comments. I'm listening. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


References:  Wiki on the Louvre Museum  The Louvre website Egyptian semi-precious and gemstone history More Egyptian jewelry and significance of stones and color.