MAIASP. 2023. No. 15
Mikhail Treister (
JEWELLERY FROM THE
FIRST CENTURIES CE COMPLEXES ON THE
OF THE NORTH-EASTERN BLACK SEA REGION (ABOUT THE SO-CALLED STYLISTIC GROUP “GORGIPPIA — LOO”)
This paper focuses on gold polychrome jewellery
originating from the complexes in Western Georgia (Gonio,
Makho, Kapandibi, Kldeeti) and adjacent areas (Loo),
as well as a pendant with the image of Minerva belonging to the same group,
which in early 20th century was acquired by the Rostov-on-Don collector F.S. Romanovich (it is specially considered in the appendix to the article).
According to O.V. Sharov, whose opinion was expressed for the first time in 2006, these
adornments are included in the group of polychrome jewelry of the late Roman
period, which he called the “Gorgippia — Loo” group and dated in 2006 to the 3rd
century CE, later — to the second half of the 2nd
— the first half of the 3rd century CE. In part,
this characteristic really corresponds to the finds from crypt II/1975 in Gorgippia (but only in part — compositions made of
granulation, as well as cells with a jagged edge, were not used in their
decoration), but the finds from Gorgippia have
nothing in common with the jewellery from Gonio, Kldeeti, Kapandibi
and Loo under discussion, for which the use of
filigree, as in the finds from Gorgippia, is not
typical. Accordingly, it is obvious that such an unreasonable term, which
denotes objects that are not related to each other, should be abandoned. An analysis of the characteristic
features of the shape and decoration of jewellery
There are no direct reasons to date to the 3rd century CE any of the complexes from
Thus, it is possible that the workshops that were established in Colchis at the turn of the Christian era and produced in the 1st century CE gold jewellery in a characteristic style, with extensive use of granulation and colored inlays, mainly in sheet cells with a serrated edge, continued to work in this style, at least until the early 3rd century CE, which theoretically does not exclude the later dating of the Colchis complexes within the second half of the 2nd — the first half of the 3rd centuries CE. In this regard, I would point out that the combination in the complexes of much earlier imported precious items (in particular, Roman bronze and silver utensils and gems), as well as Roman and Parthian coins of the 1st—2nd centuries, including gold ones, which are considered as diplomatic gifts, is in general typical for the rich burials of the necropoleis of Kartli, especially Mtskheta, of the middle / second half of the 2nd — early / first half of the 3rd centuries CE.
O.V. Sharov suggested that the manufacture and the style of decoration of the jewellery of the group under consideration “originally
was associated with the traditions of Arsakid Iran,
and some of the items could have been made by craftsmen of Iberia,
experiencing in the 3rd century a strong Iranian influence”. Also this thesis raises serious
doubts, given the absence in
Key words: Colchis, Caucasian Iberia, jewellery, silver, gold and glass vessels, treasures, Roman coins, iconography of Minerva and Gorgon in the Roman art, private collectioning in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century.
Received August 17, 2023.
Accepted for publication August 31, 2023.
About the author:
Treister Mikhail (