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Antique shell cameo brooch of Sibilla Persica, woman scholar with book

  • $69500 CAD


A large antique cameo, the shell carved in a depiction of a woman scholar in front of a classical pillar. It may depict Sambethe, the prophetess.

The face and dress are slightly surface worn but the carving is otherwise in good condition.

The cameo has been set in a silver coloured metal. It is unmarked so I will assume that it is not silver. The inside, however, is tarnished like silver would and I would not imagine a cameo of this quality to be set in a silver plate or steel alloy.

The brooch closes with a C clasp and dates ca 1850

"The word Sibyl comes Latin from the ancient Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess There were many Sibyls in the ancient world, but the Persian Sibyl is said to have foretold the exploits of Alexander of Macedon (The Great). Nicanor, who wrote the life of Alexander mentions her. The Persian Sibyl, by name Sambethe, was said to be of the family of Noah. A painting of Sibilla Persica by Guercino (1647) hangs in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. The Persian Sibyl was said to be prophetic priestess presiding over the Apollonian Oracle though her location remained vague enough so that she might be called the "Babylonian Sibyl"."

Size: (just the carved shell) 5 cm tall x 3.8 cm wide
Size: (including the setting 5.5 cm x 4.3 cm x 2 cm


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