A rare Byzantine Bronze Diadem and Bracelet, ca 4th - 5th century CE


$15,000 USD

A metalwork braided tiara of hammered copper alloy; the frontal with cutout decoration of early Christian iconography, including a central program of geometric doubled crosses flanked first by two birds and then two fish, the top edge of the frontal rising geometrically. On either end of the frontal, the copper alloy sheet is cut and folded to create a three-string braid emulating a wreath. At the rear of the braid, the weave is merged and further folded over creating a vertical lappet at the back. Above the frontal, an independent copper alloy braid comprising three strings is also woven, folded, and inserted through the weave of the primary braid on both sides creating two smaller lappets.   The tiara is complimented by a circular three-string braided copper alloy bracelet.

Condition: Professional conservation conducted that included light surface cleaning and degreasing, realignment of the frontal and slight breaks re-adhered.  Some loss to one side lappet otherwise, the tiara is intact and in excellent condition overall. The bracelet is intact and in excellent condition overall, both objects with good green patination commensurate with age. With museum-quality custom mount.   A professional treatment and condition report accompanies this object and is available upon request.

Dimensions: Diadem diameter: 6 3/4 inches (17.12 cm), Bracelet diameter: 2 3/4 inches (7 cm)

Provenance:  Found together at Egnatiaodos, Thessaloniki and gifted to Sir Francis Oswald Lindley, British Ambassador to Greece from 1922-1923, then by descent to his great-niece.

Sir Francis Oswald Lindley GCMG CB CBE PC (12 June 1872 – 17 August 1950) was a British diplomat who was HM Consul-General in Russia in 1919, British High Commissioner in Vienna 1919–1920, Ambassador to Austria 1920–1921, Ambassador to Greece 1922–1923, Minister in Oslo 1923–1929, Ambassador to Portugal 1929–1931, and finally Ambassador to Japan 1931–1934.  

The Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki is on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.  The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath.