Snake Bracelet
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Bruce White Photography
Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

Romano-Egyptian, A.D. 1 - 100
2 11/16 - 2 7/8 in., 0.2491 lb.

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Spiral bracelets in the form of snakes were very popular in antiquity. This type of bracelet was worn coiled around the wearer's arm, the continuation of a fashion known earlier in the Greek world in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Such slip-on bracelets were always worn in pairs on the wrists or the upper arms. On this single spiral example, the goldsmith carefully recreated the sinuous motion of the curves of a snake's tail. Incised crosshatching on the snake's head and tail represents the texture of scales. A second smaller head emerges from the tail, creating an abbreviated version of the more elaborate double-snake bracelets popular in the earlier Ptolemaic period.