Wine, Worship and Sacrifice: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani

December 1, 2007 – February 24, 2008

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

The ancient Asian country Colchis is known as the land of the Golden Fleece, but less well known is its intermingling of Greek, Persian, and local styles and traditions. This exhibition of more than 100 objects provides a rich and informative archaeological view of this ancient Asian country and its administrative center Vani. Artifacts from a grave found in Vani (in western Georgia) in 2004 include elaborate Colchian gold hair ornaments and appliques for clothing; a Persian silver bucket, ladle, and libation bowls; Greek wine amphoras and red-figure pottery; and a Greek bronze torso. Additional highlights include Greek silver drinking cups of a kind that did not survive in Greece itself (although they are well documented in ancient sources); a magnificent Colchian gold necklace with 31 pendant tortoises, each decorated with tiny granulation; and a gold pectoral inlaid with carnelian and turquoise figures influenced by Egyptian, Greek, and Achaemenid jewelry.