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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Let's 'Brooch' the Subject!

Everyone likes a bit of sparkle and the Romans were no exception! This week I had my Jewellery Handling table at the Roman Baths. I displayed some pieces from the Roman Baths collection and replicas along side them to show what the jewellery would have looked like originally. If you came along, I hope you liked it!

I also included a few images of the Fayum death portraits (Fayum is an area in Egypt!). These are likenesses of the deceased when they were young, that were painted onto the linen wrappings of mummies and date back to the period when Romans occupied Egypt.

My favourite Fayum death portrait

Here’s my favourite one of the death portraits because she’s modelling the fashionable mono-brow of the time, where ladies actually filled in their eyebrows to create a mono-brow for the sake of beauty. How times change!

The subjects of the Fayum death portraits, all seem to be dripping in gold. However, Jewellery wasn’t just for the mega rich. Not only gold and silver were used but also bronze, iron, bone, glass (for beads), enamel and much more! 

Snake bangle on display at The Roman Baths

Snakes were a very popular image to have on jewellery and were worn as arm bands, bracelets, necklaces and rings. It was only when Christianity came in when snakes were connected with evil (in the Bible when the devil tempted Eve, in the form of a snake, in the garden of Eden). Before then snakes were thought highly of in the Roman Empire, being thought have healing powers. Snakes were also associated with several gods and goddesses in the Roman Religion, with some deities even depicted in snake form.

Me choosing pieces from The Roman Baths collection

Looking at the pieces I picked from the collection, the replicas and the fayum death portraits it really shows that jewellery really hasn't changed that much! If you look for it, Roman-style jewellery can be found everywhere on the high street. Shopping time!
Look out for the next handling table! It's free and there's no need to book, not to mention it's an opportunity to see objects from The Roman Baths collection that aren't normally displayed to the public! See you there!

1 comment:

  1. The Al Fayum portraits are just wonderful. It's like someone trying to tell you something personal across the centuries. The 17th century choral piece from Princess Diana's funeral reminds me of these - 'Remember Me'.