These marvelous pair of golden bracelets were probably found at Pompeii, Italy. Roman, 1st century CE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
Surya (the supreme light) was the chief solar deity in Hinduism; he also represents sun in India and Nepal. He is one of core elements of Hindu astrology; Surya was the chief of Navagraha and the Classical Planets. He had 3 wives; Saranyu, Yama, and Yami. From northeast India, 11th century CE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
Parvati, the goddess of love, fertility, and devotion, is the mother goddess in Hinduism. Together with Lakshmi (goddess of prosperity and wealth) and Saraswati (goddess of learning and knowledge), they forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses. From south India, 11th to 12th century CE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
Vishnu is the supreme god "Svayam Bhagavan" of Vaishnavism. In addition, he is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition; he is conceived as the preserver and the protector. Hinduism depicts Vishnu a being with 4 arms and dark blue complexion. From Thai-Cambodian border, 11th century CE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
Snakes (nagas) can often be seen in Hinu art; they are demi-gods who represent water or the earth. Here, Vishnu sleeps on the coils of Ananta, the World Snake. He will awaken for the nest cycle of creation which heralds the destruction of all things. From southern India, circa 14th century CE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
In India, lion is known as the Lord of Beasts and has royal association. This marble white panel is an architectural figure from the base of an Indian temple. From India, 11th century CE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
With a lion's body and the wings and head of an eagle, the gryphon encapsulates the majesty of both. At one time representing royalty, it gained the role of guardian Gryphons are used architecturally and can be found in domestic objects, used to protect the household. Plaque from a chair, Etruscan, 6th century BCE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
The cat formal's pose indicates that it was a votive offering to goddess Bast, who cult was especially popular when this bronze was made. Hollow-cast bronze. From Tell Basta, Egypt, circa 664-30 BCE. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.
God Mercury is one of the Dii Consentes (12 major deities in the Pantheon of ancient Rome; 6 gods and 6 goddesses). Mercury was the god of financial gain, commerce, messages, and travelers. Some altars are official offerings by military units. The inscriptions on this altar read "To the god Mercury; soldiers of the 6th Legion, Victorious, Dutiful... [continue reading]
This figure depicts a female; she holds a small child on her chest and a dagger with her right hand. A material of religious significance, the flat gold figures (or Tunjos), were votive offerings left in caves or lakes. They were rarely found inside tombs. Pre-Columbian gold was first associated with the elite, but became widely accessible later... [continue reading]