Bracelet

The bracelet, certainly a female piece of jewellery, comprises two semi-cylindrical gold sheets of equal size and with repoussé decoration, joined together by cotter-pins. On each semi-cylindrical section, within a rectangular vegetal frame with niello inlay, are five tangential circles of vine-tendrils, enclosing birds, lions, winged griffins and other fantastical creatures, executed in high relief. On either side of the junction of the two semi-cylinders is a vertical row of four schematic lanceolate leaves with pointillé decoration.

There is an almost identical but slightly smaller bracelet of silver in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, which is believed to have been found in Constantinople and is dated to the eleventh-twelfth century. The gold bracelet in the Canellopoulos Museum is one of the loveliest extant examples of the Byzantine goldsmith’s art.

CONSTANTINE SCAMPAVIAS