For me there is nothing more beautiful and fulfilling than the sight of the Thracian treasures, found in Bulgaria. So this is why I decided to write several posts dedicated to these masterpieces of art:
I guess that you have heard of this indo-european group of ancient tribes, which inhabited Southeastern Europe. The Thracians developed as an ethnic group around 1000 BC and are a really interesting subject of study. But my main goal here is to present the most important and famous Thracian treasures, so that you know more about them and feast upon their works of artisan craftsmanship.
Behold the first and most famous treasure which was excavated in 1949, near Panagyurishte, Bulgaria – “The Panagyurishte Treasure”:
On the picture (thank you wikipedia!) you can see all the 24-karat gold masterpieces from it: a phiale, an amphora and seven rhytons – over 6 kilograms of pure ancient imagination. The treasure is dated to IV – III BC, was property of an unknown Thracian king and was used in religious ceremonies.
The phiale is stunning – around the center hemispherical part (the protruding part in the middle) there is a curb from small rosettes, around it there is a 24 acorn wreath and after that – three frieze with enlarged African heads the total number of which is 72. This piece has captured many scientists indefinitely…
The amphora is exquisitely detailed:
The image in the center of the amphora has an intricate narrative: In the center one can see double doors flanked by Ionic columns with capitals, lion heads and winged sphinxes at the base. Around them there are seven male figures. On the right there is an old bearded man wrapped in a long robe and leaning on a stick. He prophecies on the liver of a sacrificial animal. The other men are warriors which are wearing draped robes and are armed with swords. One of them has a small beard, has a stick in his hand and wears high heels. He is the one who monitors the oracle. One of the other warriors has a horn and gives a signal to attack the door. Between the closing wings of the door there is a barely visible old man who is hiding. One can create a complicated and insightful story based on this perfection…
You can contemplate on seven rhytons as well (3 antropomorphic, 2 with goat (male and female) heads and 2 with deer heads):
One can only feel humble when looking at such wonders of the human craftsmanship. It is only natural that I try to spread the word about this treasure. You can read more about each piece of the set online – there are many studies and detailed photographs which can help you understand and enjoy the Panagyurishte treasure.
For me it is also important to show the intricate details embodied on the phiale, the amphora and the rhytons. Each piece has its own story and shows us a unique part of the Greek and Thracian mythology. In our daily life we don’t have much time to contemplate on topics such as life, death, eternity and how a person can live in time and history through his or her works of art. This treasure is a beautiful and very symbolic example which shows us how our work and imagination can surpass our lifespan and beam our skill and creativity in eternity.