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Gold Wreath
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Unknown
Greek, 300 - 100 B.C.
Gold
7 11/16 - 9/16 x 25 3/8 in.
92.AM.89

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Two hollow wires that fasten in the front with a simple hook and eye form the framework of this Hellenistic gold wreath. On these wires, the anonymous goldsmith soldered thinner stems embellished with laurel leaves and berries. The ends of the hollow wire framework imitate the broken ends of twigs. This particular detail suggests that the wreath was made in northern Greece.

Gold wreaths such as this one derive their form from wreaths of real leaves worn in religious ceremonies and given as prizes in athletic and artistic contests. Because of their fragility, gold wreaths were probably not meant to be worn. They were dedicated to the gods in sanctuaries and placed in graves as funerary offerings. Although known in earlier periods, gold wreaths became much more frequent in the Hellenistic age, probably due in large part to the greatly increased availability of gold in the Greek world following the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great.