Description: Bronze Age mirror with Griffin, Achaemenid Persian Empire, 550 BC -330BC Diameter: 9 cm x 8.3 cm = 3.5 inches x 3.25 inches Weight: 69.57 g Condition: the mirror is worn, genuine patina, 2 small stable cracks: 7 mm and 11 mm long; Provenance: found in Bajaur Valley in Pakistan; Origin: Achaemenid Persian Empire, 550 BC -330BC; The Achaemenids considered the griffin "a protector from evil, witchcraft and secret slander". References: Central Asian Jewelry and their Symbols in Ancient Time http://www.artwis.com/articles/central-asian-jewelry-and-their-symbols-in-ancient-time/ Among the imaginary animals represented in jewelry, the most popular one is the gryphon (animal-shaped bracelets nos.116 and 116a from the treasure of Oxus) (6). In Central Asia, the gryphon first appeared in the 5th-4th centuries B.C. Its original iconography was formed in the early states of the Front-Asian world. In Greek mythology, the gryphon is a monstrous bird with the beak of an eagle and the body of a lion. In the ancient and medieval art of Central Asia, the gryphon was a protector from evil, witchcraft and secret slander. The image of the lion-gryphon penetrated into Central Asian art in 5th-4th century B.C. from Achaemenian Iran. The Greeks, however, believed that it originated from Bactria and that each historical-artistic area produced its own version of a gryphon: a lion-gryphon, a dog-like gryphon, a horse-like gryphon, etc. (15) References (wikipedia): The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: ??????, grýph?n, or ??????, grýp?n, early form ????, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposes that the griffin was an ancient misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found in gold mines in the Altai mountains of Scythia, in present-day southeastern Kazakhstan, or in Mongolia. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine. While griffins are most common in the art and lore of Ancient Greece, there is evidence of representations of griffins in Ancient Persian and Ancient Egyptian art dating back to before 3000 BC. In Egypt, a griffin can be seen in a cosmetic palette from Hierakonpolis, known as the "Two Dog Palette", which is dated to ca. 3300-3100 BC. In Persia, griffins appeared on cylinder seals from Susa as early as 3000 BC. Griffin depictions appear in the Levant, Syria, and Anatolia in the Middle Bronze Age, dated at about 1950-1550 BC. Early depictions of griffins in Ancient Greek art are found in the 15th century BC frescoes in the Throne Room of the Bronze Age Palace of Knossos, as restored by Sir Arthur Evans. It continued being a favored decorative theme in Archaic and Classical Greek art. In Central Asia the griffin appears about a thousand years after Bronze Age Crete, in the 5th4th centuries BC, probably originating from the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The Achaemenids considered the griffin "a protector from evil, witchcraft and secret slander". The modern generalist calls it the lion-griffin, as for example, Robin Lane Fox, in Alexander the Great, 1973:31 and notes p. 506, who remarks a lion-griffin attacking a stag in a pebble mosaic Dartmouth College expedition at Pella, perhaps as an emblem of the kingdom of Macedon or a personal one of Alexander's successor Antipater. The Pisa Griffin is a large bronze sculpture which has been in Pisa in Italy since the Middle Ages, though it is of Islamic origin. It is the largest bronze medieval Islamic sculpture known, at over three feet tall (42.5 inches, or 1.08 m.), and was probably created in the 11th century in Al-Andaluz (Islamic Spain). From about 1100 it was placed on a column on the roof of Pisa Cathedral until replaced by a replica in 1832; the original is now in the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum), Pisa. History of Pakistan Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and is the second most populous country with a Muslim majority. Its territory was a part of the pre-partitioned British India and has a long history of settlement and civilization including the Indus Valley Civilization. Most of it was conquered in the 1st millennium BCE by Persians and Greeks. Waves of conquerors and migrants including Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Grecian, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, White Hun, Afghan, Arab, Turkics, and Mughal settled in the Indo-Gangetic plains throughout the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. The Indus Valley civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Successive empires and kingdoms ruled the region from the Achaemenid Persian Empire around 543 BCE, to Alexander the Great in 326 BCE and the Mauryan Empire. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab from 184 BCE, and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a major center of learning in ancient times - the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country's major archaeological sites. Later arrivals include the Arabs, Afghans, Turks, Baloch and Mongols.
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