The latest collection from the Benaki Museum to travel to Australia’s Hellenic Museum tells a tale of more than just the wearing of jewellery. Opening Friday 26 August, 2016, The Art of Adornment: Greek Jewellery from the 17th to 19th Centuries features items that were said to bring the wearer good luck, enhance fertility, and ward off evil spirits for protection and prosperity.
The collection, that spans 400 years, features over 90 exquisite and intricate objects which highlight the artistry involved in jewellery making throughout this period as well as portraits in the gallery showing how these items were worn.
The exhibition has been divided geographically or thematically into seven main categories. They include: Greek islands; Jewellery and silverware for men; Asia Minor; Central Greece; Thessaly; Epirus; Northern Greece: Macedonia and Thrace.
Items in the collection include: a pair of earrings with pendants in the shape of caravels from Patmos, Dodecanese dated 18th c.; an amulet with a relief representation of St George on horseback slaying the dragon from the 19th c.; a head-cover ornament made up of silver, gilt details, corals, glass gems from Asia Minor dated 19th c.; a necklace consisting of three Austrian coins hung from a filigree chain from Thessaly dated second half of the 19th c.; marriage crowns decorated with flowers from Asia Minor dated second half of 19th c.; and a belt buckle decorated with polychrome enamel from Thessaly dated early 19th c.
The Art of Adornment: Greek Jewellery from the 17th to 19th Centuries will be launched with Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. It will be exhibited in the upstairs gallery across from the permanent installation ONEIROI – a photographic exhibition by Bill Henson, incorporating Greek treasures through the ages.