Earrings with Nike Pendants
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Bruce White Photography
Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

Greek, 225 - 175 B.C.
Gold and glass


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Flying figures of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, form the main decoration of these Hellenistic gold earrings. The goddess appears with spread wings and wind-swept drapery, holding a flaming torch, in two figures that are mirror images of one another. Each tiny figure is hollow, made from two joined sheets of gold that were formed in a mold.

Earrings in the form of a U-shaped hook with a rosette disk and a pendant figure were one of the most popular types in the Hellenistic period. On this pair, the rosette is particularly ornate, decorated with filigree, granulation, and a central glass bead. Originally the earrings were vividly colored and encrusted with stones, the compartments in the wings were filled with colored enamel, the flame of the torch was also enameled or set with a semi-precious stone, and the center of the acanthus crowning the rosette probably held a garnet. Nike earrings were most popular in the period from the late 300s to early 200s B.C. Stylistic and technical features of this pair, however, indicate that they were made in the late 200s or early 100s B.C.