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Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description High-ranking or wealthy Greek women often wore elaborate diadems and hairnets of gold and gemstones as part of their jewelry. The centerpiece of this intricate openwork diadem is adorned with a large Hercules knot, inspired by the one the hero used to tie the paws of the lion skin he wore. Due to its protective quality, it also became important in marriage symbolism and was a common motif for women's jewelry of the Hellenistic period, and in royal Macedonian art more generally. The Roman author Pliny (AD 23-79) even attributed healing qualities to the Hercules knot. This elaborate example is decorated with a miniature snake on each of the four edges, twelve gold rosettes, and two long tassels, which would be placed on the forehead.
Date Description Narrative
8/29/1983Loan Considerationexamined for loan
11/09/1988Treatmentcleaned; repaired
5/12/2017Treatmentmounted; stabilized
  • Jewelry - Ancient to Modern. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979-1980.
  • From Alexander to Cleopatra: Greek Art of the Hellenistic Age. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988-1989.
  • Bedazzled: 5,000 Years of Jewelry from the Walters Art Museum. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006-2009.
  • Bedazzled: 5,000 Years of Jewelry. El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso. 2010.
  • Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World. 2016.
Provenance Collection of Canessa Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 11-14, 1903, lot 259; E. Guilhou [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Collection of E. Guilhou Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 16-18, 1905, lot 82; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1905, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1905

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3rd-2nd century BC (Hellenistic)
gold, garnet, enamel
(Gold, Silver & Jewelry)
Accession Number
L: 17 3/4 × W: 2 3/8 × D: 1/4 in. (45.09 × 6.1 × 0.7 cm)
  • Greece (Place of Origin)
  • Greece, Macedonia (Place of Discovery)


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