Bill Robertson

Ivory Decorative Fitting

Faces at each end, which may represent Nabatean goddesses, and Greek acanthus leaves decorate an ornamental ivory fitting only 2.6 inches long. Classical motifs on these objects were sometimes combined with eastern forms, as was probably the case with this fitting, c. first century B.C. to second century A.D. The combination of classical and eastern motifs was probably spurred by Alexander the Great’s defeat of the Persians in the fourth century B.C.; the Near East then began to import Hellenistic vessels and other decorative arts on a large scale. Although the faces on this fitting seem Hellenistic, the cloaks and crowns surrounding them are reminiscent of the Nabatean east.