Animals

There is a rich repertoire of domestic and wild animal subjects on classical gems, probably mainly for decorative purposes.

Mottled scaraboid

Mottled scaraboid. A locust on a twig stripped of foliage. There is a rich variety of insect life shown on gems in the later 5th century.

Private collection. 21mm.
Very similar to London, Walters, no. 512. 19mm. GGFR no. 502.

Chalcedony scaraboid from Messenia

Chalcedony scaraboid from Messenia. A horse with loose reins. Inscribed pota nea. The neat hatched border and ground line are an archaic touch.

Boston, Museum of Fine Arts. 20mm. GGFR no. 473.

Rock crystal scaraboid

Rock crystal scaraboid. A lion attacking a stag, with a hatched border.

London, Walters no. 538. 20mm. GGFR no. 507.

Cornelian lion gem

Cornelian lion gem

Cornelian lion gem (a rare shape, see GGFR 205 for other examples). A rampant goat, with a hatched border.

Private collection. 22mm.

Smoked agate scaraboid

Smoked agate scaraboid. A frog with legs displayed – as seen from above, with a hatched border.

London, BM 65.7-12.114. 12mm. Richter, GGE  no. 471.