Jewelry

Dazzling jewels from an Ethiopian grave reveal 2,000-year-old link to Rome

“Dazzling jewels from an Ethiopian grave reveal 2,000-year-old link to Rome”

by Dalya Alberge via “The Guardian

British archaeology team uncovers stunning Aksumite and Roman artefacts
Grave in Ethiopia
The grave in Ethiopia where the woman dubbed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was discovered. Photograph: Graeme Laidlaw

Spectacular 2,000-year-old treasures from the Roman empire and the Aksumite kingdom, which ruled parts of north-east Africa for several centuries before 940AD, have been discovered by British archaeologists in northern Ethiopia.

Louise Schofield, a former British Museum curator, headed a major six-week excavation of the ancient city of Aksum where her team of 11 uncovered graves with “extraordinary” artefacts dating from the first and second centuries. They offer evidence that the Romans were trading there hundreds of years earlier than previously thought.

Schofield told the Observer: “Every day we had shed-loads of treasure coming out of all the graves. I was blown away: I’d been confident we’d find something, but not on this scale.”

She was particularly excited about the grave of a woman she has named “Sleeping Beauty”. The way the body and its grave goods had been positioned suggest that she had been beautiful and much-loved.

Perfume flask found at the site.
Perfume flask found at the site.

Schofield said: “She was curled up on her side, with her chin resting on her hand, wearing a beautiful bronze ring. She was buried gazing into an extraordinary Roman bronze mirror. She had next to her a beautiful and incredibly ornate bronze cosmetics spoon with a lump of kohl eyeliner.”

The woman was also wearing a necklace of thousands of tiny beads, and a beaded belt. The quality of the jewellery suggests that she was a person of very high status, able to command the very best luxurious goods. Other artefacts with her include Roman glass vessels – two perfectly preserved drinking beakers and a flask to catch the tears of the dead.

There was also a clay jug. Schofield hopes that its contents can be analysed. She believes it would have contained food and drink for the afterlife.

Although “Sleeping Beauty” was covered only with soil, her grave was cut into a rock overhang, which is why the finds survived intact.

The team also found buried warriors, with each skeleton wearing large iron bangles. They may have been killed in nearby battlefields. . . . .

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Unique Exhibition Showcases Works of Central Asian Artists

“Unique Exhibition Showcases Works of Central Asian Artists”

by RUFIYA OSPANOVA via “The Astana Times

SINGAPORE – “New Silk Roads: Painting Beyond Borders,” the first exhibition of Central Asian artists, was showcased April 21 in Icon Gallery here. The event was organised by ENE Central Asian Arts with the support of the Kazakh Embassy in Singapore and Lassale Singapore University of Art.

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The exhibition showed 37 works, including those of artists from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Paintings and abstract compositions by Central Asian artists generated great interest among the many visitors. 

Kazakhstan demonstrated paintings of the Amulet series by the nation’s renowned artist Leyla Mahat. In her works, Mahat tells about the role of amulets in the daily life of nomads, which were used not only as decoration but also as charms from the evil eye.

Amulet paintings recreate ancient jewellery uncovered in archaeological excavations and reconstructed by Kazakh scientists and her images relive the work of archaeologist Zeinolla Samashev. 

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Artist, archaeologist and artisan are all connected through the materiality of the gold ornaments and their contemporary artistic representations, as well as by the land once inhabited by the ancient peoples which now forms their burial place and the physical basis of the modern state. The choice of depicting jewellery, the wearing of which was an aristocratic prerogative, is also suggestive of the lineage which the artist claims as validation for the modern state. The appeals to the forces of history and heredity are perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in “Amulet and Colour” (2014), where their potency seems to glow red-hot, their vividness embodying itself in the profuse viscosity of paint, tactile and Medusa-like in its writhing. 

According to the organisers, such exhibitions in general allow representatives of Central Asian countries not only to learn more about the historical values of each other, but in particular help to strengthen ties between Kazakhstan and Singapore.  . . .

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