Pendant from the Aegina treasure

Step 5 of 10

Snakes

Fig. 18 - Line drawing of a pendant from Minet el Beida - Ziffer et al, 2009

The four ‘beams’ that curl up from both sides of the figures are quite mysterious. There are multiple suggestions as to what they might depict. It has been suggested that they are snakes C. Hopkins, ‘The Aegina treasure’, in The American Journal of Archaeology 66-2 (1962), p. 182-184;R. B. Koehl, ‘South Levantine Middle Bronze Age gold-work in the Aegean’, in ΠΕΠΡΑΓΜΕΝΑ Ι’ ΔΙΕΘΝΟΥΣ ΚΡΗΤΟΛΟΓΙΚΟΥ ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟΥ, Τομοσ Α1:ΠΡΟΪΣΤΟΡΙΚΟΙ ΧΡΟΝΟΙ, (ΧΑΝΙΑ, 2011), 189-208; J. Aruz, ‘Imagery and interconnections’, Ägypten und Levante 5 (1995), 33-48., but other suggestions emerged as well: they might be sacred bull’s horns or composite bows.R. Higgins, The Aegina treasure, an archaeological mystery (London, 1979); R. B. Koehl, ‘South Levantine Middle Bronze Age gold-work in the Aegean’, in ΠΕΠΡΑΓΜΕΝΑ Ι’ ΔΙΕΘΝΟΥΣ ΚΡΗΤΟΛΟΓΙΚΟΥ ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟΥ, Τομοσ Α1:ΠΡΟΪΣΤΟΡΙΚΟΙ ΧΡΟΝΟΙ, (ΧΑΝΙΑ, 2011), 189-208. In the end, it remains a mystery.

The closest parallel to the entire composition of our pendant might be a gold sheet pendant from Minet el Beida, Syria. (Fig. 18). R. B. Koehl, ‘South Levantine Middle Bronze Age gold-work in the Aegean’, in ΠΕΠΡΑΓΜΕΝΑ Ι’ ΔΙΕΘΝΟΥΣ ΚΡΗΤΟΛΟΓΙΚΟΥ ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟΥ, Τομοσ Α1:ΠΡΟΪΣΤΟΡΙΚΟΙ ΧΡΟΝΟΙ, (ΧΑΝΙΑ, 2011), 189-208. On that pendant, a woman (a Mistress of Animals) is depicted holding two goat-like creatures. She wears a diadem similar to the one our Master is wearing, and wears bracelets on her wrists and upper arms, again like our figure. And most relevantly to our subject right now, snakes curl up from her hips.