Geometric and Early Archaic gems: Island scarabs

In the Late Archaic period of the end of the 6th century, when the new hardstone gems were being cut in East Greece, there is a short series of scarabs in the soft island stones. Being cut by hand, not the drill, the style is more rugged and sculptural, and they include some of the best examples of the art for the day, including some signed by their artists - Syries, Onesimos. Euboea may be a centre of production.

Scarab image

Green serpentine scarab. A satyr tuning his lyre. Signed, Onesimos.

Boston LHG no. 24. 15mm. GGFR pl. 351.

Scarab image

Green serpentine scaraboid, the back carved as a facing satyr head in relief. A kithara-player mounting a platform. Signed, Syries.

London no. 492. 18mm. GGFR pl. 350.

Scarab image

Green serpentine scarab. A seated sphinx; probably by Onesimos.

Paris, Cab.Med., de Luynes no. 290. 15mm. GGFR pl. 353.