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Late Antique, migration period and Early Byzantine garnet cloisonné ornaments: Origins, styles and workshop production

Adams, DN; (1991) Late Antique, migration period and Early Byzantine garnet cloisonné ornaments: Origins, styles and workshop production. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis proposes a classification of gold and garnet cloisonné ornaments based on stylistic and technological features. These objects reflect Late Antique/Early Byzantine decorative and manufacturing traditions. Flat garnet plates originate with one class of ring-stone intaglios from the Late Hellenistic and Imperial Roman periods. Garnet plates were first set on jewellery at this same time Early inlaid ornaments are characterised by a mixture of western and eastern elements shared along the eastern trade routes. The first examples of true garnet cloisonné are preserved in Western Asia and Soviet Georgia (ancient Iberia). Although excavated with coins, accurate dating of the latter finds remains difficult. Some objects may be as early as the late third century while others parallel ornaments in southern Russia and Europe which are datable to the late fourth and fifth centuries' AD. Cloisonné ornaments at Kerch in the Crimea incorporate standardised geometric plate shapes. These preserve Graeco-Roman traditions of decoration and lapidary technology, and may have been produced under official Roman auspices. Ornaments on both sides of the Pontus, therefore, reflect the range of Late Antique cloisonné production. Standardised plates, sometimes set with cabochon bars in proportional patterns, characterise sword fittings deposited in Hunnic Period contexts. Their distribution reflects burial customs, as the garnet cloisonné mounts themselves represent Late Antique/Farly Byzantine traditions. These official or urban styles stimulated a range of regional imitations. One group of cloisonné ornaments, Christian in character and worn predominantly by women, replicates classical mosaic floor patterns. These share features with other examples of Early Byzantine jewellery produced in urban centres for both barbarian and Roman clients. In the second half of the fifth century, a contemporary style appears on male weaponry and horse harness preserved in contexts which suggest their owners held official positions in the Early Byzantine militia. The mixture of barbarian and Roman elements within this style characterises Early Byzantine cloisonné from sixth-century European and Mediterranean contexts.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Late Antique, migration period and Early Byzantine garnet cloisonné ornaments: Origins, styles and workshop production
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121046
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