Phalera
Chariot Burial, Auvers-sur-Oise, France
Early 4th c. BCE
dimensions not known
Bronze, gold leaf, enamel and coral inlay
Paris, Bib. Nat., Cab. des Medailles

The design of this exquisite phalera is based on a lotus-bloom motif. The bloom has been stylized to resemble two s-curves that mirror each other around a central petal form. Each s-curve terminates at the outer edge of the phalera in a curlicue. The other end of the s-curve forms a teardrop shape. A similar teardrop form inlaid with glass is tucked within the curve. It juxtaposes the inner end of the s-curve, making a design similar to the Asian yin-yang. Paired as they are, the two s-curves resemble a mysterious, abstract face as well as a bloom. Four of these lotus-blooms are shown on this phalera, dividing the piece into quarter sections. Series of three arranged teardrops fill the gaps between the blooms. The central teardrop is inlaid with coral, while the flanking forms are hammered outward to catch light. A small boss is featured in alternating teardrop formations. The negative space around the design becomes patterns of abstract triangles. A circular boss protrudes from the center of the phalera. This boss is inlaid with enamel.

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