Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Nike

  • Object:

    Cameo

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 106 AD (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved chalcedony

  • Museum number:

    263-1874

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery, case SS3

This fragment is all that remains of what would have been a much larger cameo made to celebrate an important Roman imperial victory. The figure is Nike, the Roman goddess of victory. The inscription on her shield, which may have been added after the cameo was carved, refers to the emperor Trajan’s conquest of Dacia and acquisition of Arabia in AD 106.

In a cameo, the image stands proud of the surface. Large and important pieces like this one were produced by highly skilled Roman cameo engravers and prized by their owners as symbols of status and power.

Physical description

Fragment of a large chalcedony cameo depicting the winged figure of Nike grasping her shield. The figure is present from the mid-thighs up, the upper part of her body naked and her hair dressed on top of her head. She strides to the left and turns her head to the right. Mounted in a plain gold band round the edges with a ring for suspension.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)

Date

ca. 106 AD (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved chalcedony

Marks and inscriptions

'DACIA CAPTA ARABIA ADQVISITA'
'Dacia captured Arabia acquired'
Inscribed on shield. Martin Henig has said that this inscription may have been added during the Renaissance.

Dimensions

Height: 7 cm, Width: 4.8 cm, Depth: 2.5 cm, Weight: 0.08 kg

Object history note

Bought from the Webb collection in 1874.

Historical significance: Described by Martin Henig as a very fine piece. Although he felt the inscription had been added in the Renaissance he did not question the association with the Dacian wars and suggests an interesting parallel for the Nike could be found on Trajan's column. This would appear to be the Nike half way up the column at the connecting point between the two wars in the narration, where her figure appears inscribing the honours of the wars on a shield. A comparable Nike found in Lullingstone can be found in Henig's PhD thesis on engraved gems.

Historical context note

This is a fragment from a large cameo which would have been made to celebrate the victories of the Emperor Trajan who conquered Dacia and acquired Arabia in AD 106.

Descriptive line

Cameo fragment, chalcedony, depicting Nike, Roman, ca. 106 AD

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Henig, M, PhD thesis on engraved gems, plate 304
Miclea, I, The Column, Cluj, 1971, p.114, pl.LXVI
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington, Acquired During the Year 1874, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., p. 20

Materials

Chalcedony

Techniques

Lapidary; Carving

Subjects depicted

Cameos; Victory

Categories

Sculpture; Gemstones; Myths & Legends

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.