Monday, August 13, 2012

Gold Rush at National Museum

We went to the Gold Rush: Treasures Of Ukraine exhibition on the same day with The Wedding Dress at the National Museum of Singapore. It was quite a glittering experience!

The exhibition features 260 artefacts from the northern coast of the Black Sea, an area that roughly corresponds to present-day Ukraine. It's also the first time these artefacts are travelling to South-east Asia.

The nomad's weapons. This group of weapons, from 6th century BCE to the 12th century CE, belonged to the various warrior-nomads.

Sword and scabbard with boar head. The scabbard shows a lion and a griffin, a mythological part-eagle, part-lion creature, attacking a deer as two leopards watch on. The use of animal imagery is common in Scythian objects.

Gorytus cover. The gorytus was a bow and quiver case.

Diadem with cult scenes. This object unfolds a narrative sequence with scenes from Scythian life. The men are shown in a variety of postures, including drinking and holding a captive. The seated woman in the centre is thought to be a Scythian goddess.

String of beads. The group of beads was carved from materials such as agate, amber, carnelian, chaclcedony, bone and glass paste.

Pole tops. These intricately designed pole tops bear natural motifs such as the stag, the eagle and the tree, which symbolise transformation as well as regeneration.

Group of horse ornaments. The various objects on view here are ornaments used to decorate horse-riding equipment.

Group of plaques.

Scythian dress with plaques. The typical attire of a Scythian woman included a headdress, garments and shoes. The variously shaped tiny gold plates, arranged in a regular band-like manner add a tactile element to the garments.

Rhyton (drink horn). The horn is decorated with gold plaques that bear typically stylised Scythian motifs of birds, deer and griffins.

Figurine of a wild boar. This small figurine is made of two halves that were soldered together. The legs and the tail were also made separately and then joined. Despite its small size, the animal is vividly characterised with eyes, ears, a twisted tail and bristles evoked by engraved lines.

The vessels were made of precious metal and worn on the nomads' belts, as symbols of the power of the nobility. Some of the silver objects also show that there was an increased complexity in metalworking and Byzantine influences are also evident.

Random shots of me at a corner of the exhibition. Hahaha, okay, move on! These are Greek Vessels.

Ceramics. Vase shaped as a female head. The vase is feminised by shaping the belly of the pot in the form of a woman's head. Such pots were made from moulds in two parts, which were then attached together with slip.

Lid of a lekanis. The lid depicts Greek goddess Europa on a bull and a nymph on a hippocampus, a mythological creature that is part-horse and part-fish.

These moulded terracotta figures depict two Greek deities who were worshipped in Olbia. Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture and fertility, while Cybele, originally an Anatolian mother goddess.

1. Casing for the icon "Hodegetria".
2. Gospel in silver casing. Ecclesiastical art was produced from the beginning of the 11th century. Craftsmen working in guilds built and decorated churches with ornate altars, challices, crosses and candlesticks. Covers and containers for holding sacred books also began to receive much attention by the goldsmiths.

In the first half of the 16th century, Augsburg in southern Germany gained importance as centre for Baroque art where the technical mastery of the gold and silversmiths were celebrated. They produced objects that reflected the taste of the rich and noble classes. The elaborately designed objects on view, ceremonial rather than functional, are typical Baroque style.

The following decorative objects from the early 17th to the late 19th century illustrate several craft traditions of the region. The jewellery shows the visual styles and decorative techniques of Kyivan Rus' craftwork such as cloisonne enamel and nielllo.

Greek jewellery.

Roman medallions, even more than coins, served as a medium for propaganda and bore images infused with symbolic and allegorical meanings. This medallion is striking for its concise narrative, which encapsulates the conflicting worlds of the barbarian (nomads) and the civilised (settled people).

Gold heritage in Singapore and the archipelago.

Disclamer: I wrote this post for my own interest and reference, not for any commercial reasons. I took pictures and described about certain artefacts that I found interesting, not everything.

No comments: