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The Lydian Treasure


APPLIQUES, or bracteates, thin gold plaques perforated at the edge with holes for attachment are common in sumptuary arts of the ancient Near East. Some are squares with embossed decoration, like nos. 116-119, some are a jour forms, like no. 186. They were sewn to garments, headgear and equipment of textile and leather, as is particularly well documented by assemblages recovered from Scythian and related graves of south Russia (where they were used on garments of both sexes). The Scythians may have adopted the custom during their incursions into the Near East in the 7th century BC. The use of gold appliques on costume during the Achaemenid period is particularly well documented in classical texts and from the archaeological evidence. Appliques of Achaemenid type have been recovered at Sardis, from five graves of the city cemetery and one at Bin Tepe (limestone sarcophagus burial at Kenderlik Koyu which yielded a jour appliques in forms of rosettes, lotus flower and bud chain, and one lamassu). A jour rosette appliques have been recovered in two cremation burials (F and I) at Gordion.
APPLIQUES are also depicted in representational art. Tunics with richly decorated motifs appear on royal figures in Assyrian reliefs of the 9th century BC. An Urartian
gold medallion from Toprakkale, dated to 600 BC, shows two figures wearing garments with decorated surface. An ivory figurine from Ephesos of a female holding spindle and distaff is decorated in front and back with a checker pattern framed by ladder bands which form squares; the pattern of the fabric looks convincing as a woven design or as a garment decorated with appliques. Another ivory figurine from Ephesos, supporting a pole crowned by a hawk and carrying a bowl and a pitcher, wears a tunic which is incised with small diamond shapes, representing appliqued or embroidered decoration. The garment of the so-called "Eunuch Priest" from Ephesos is also decorated at front and back with engraved patterns such as spiral-armed crosses and cross - hatched lozenges. For west Anatolian fashions of the late 7th century BC these ivories are the most realistic renderings. Richly decorated chi tons are also represented on Melian amphorai of the 7th century BC.


This site prepared by Tayfun Kalyoncu on 28.02.1997 and last updated on 01.05.1999.
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