acanthus leaves


Greek Gold ‘Pontic Aristocratic’ Diadem, Late 4th-Late 3rd Century BC

A gold diadem consisting of a twisted rope border with a series of heart shaped scrolls with applied acanthus leaves and flowers with gold wire detail and tear drop shaped settings with blue enamel, flowers recessed for red enamel inlay; central wire motif in the form of a Hercules knot with applied flowers and acanthus leaves with tear drop shaped setting with blue enamel; in the center an amethyst cameo with the bust of a woman wearing a diadem and robes held at the shoulder by a brooch; one small flower element present but detached.

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Tombs of the Sanhedrin 

Sanhedria, Jerusalem, Israel

1st century CE

Tombs of the Sanhedrin (Hebrew: קברי הסנהדרין‎‎, Kivrei HaSanhedrin), also called Tombs of the Judges, is an underground complex of 63 rock-cut tombs. The tombs are noted for their elaborate design and symmetry. They have been a site for Jewish pilgrimage since the medieval period.

The tombs were constructed on the site of an ancient quarry, with a forecourt at one end and the burial caves excavated out of the other end. The forecourt has benches hewn out of the rock for the benefit of visitors. The forecourt opens onto a small courtyard, walled on three sides. An elaborately carved Grecian pediment above the large, square entrance is decorated with plant motifs, including acanthus leaves entwined with pomegranates and figs, representative of Judeo-Hellenistic burial art of the 1st century. The inner entrance to the tombs is topped by a small pediment and was originally sealed by a stone door.


British Officer’s Hanger, c.1810-20

Broad 61.5 cm pipe backed blade with quill point, ornate gilt stirrup hilt, the pommel in form of a lion couchant, the back piece cast with trophies of arms, the knuckle guard cast with acanthus leaves and shells, wire bound fish skin covered grip, together with a modern leather scabbard with engraved brass mounts, two suspension rings, the locket engraved with a naval presentation inscription.

Miniature Greek Gold Column Capital,  4th-3rd Century BC

In the shape of a Corinthian capital, the base with a ring of beads and two rows of acanthus leaves, a volute support at each of the four corners of the abacus with granulation and a five-petal flower at each side, the four sides of the abacus decorated with a central flower, 1.5cm high

This capital is closely related to an example in the British Museum, which is said to be from Taranto, South Italy. The British Museum capital is the finial of a gold sceptre, with the main body made of gold net and surmounted by a glass fruit, possibly a quince, nestled among gold acanthus leaves. It is believed to have been part of the funerary offering for a Tarantine priestess.


This stunning edition of The Tale of Beowulf is bound in Niger goatskin and adorned in boarders of dark brown acanthus leaves. Inside, the type is reminiscent of medieval manuscripts, with ornate page boarders, decorated letters, and red printing.

Also, it appears that the back cover may be haunted?

FOLIO X-Collection PR1583 .M6 1895 cop. 1

Morris, Wyatt, Morris, William, and Wyatt, A. J. The Tale of Beowulf. : [Done out of the Old English Tongue /. 1895.


British Presentation Sword, 1876

33 in. slightly curved part fullered single edged blade, etched decoration and inscribed In Testimony of their Respect and Esteem This Sword is Presented to Captain Joseph Bottomley No.1 Company 6th West York Rifle Volunteers…, the the enclosed hilt decorated with acanthus scrolls oak leaves and the Bottomley crest, wired shagreen grip, embossed pommel and back strap, in ornately engraved metal scabbard.


Smooth-bore, two-stage, 18 mm cal. barrel, octagonal first part with mark and gold inscription “ERRADURA”, round after a ring and acanthus leaves; elegant miquelet lock, decorated with a lion’s had in bass-relief, and another, in-the-round lion. Wooden, full stock with checkered back and silver mounts, pierced counter-plate, butt-plate with a bird among floral motifs, escutcheon on the back with monogram “AB”. Iron belt hook. Wooden ramrod.

Spain, Mid 19th Century

length 30 cm.



A fine French mid 19th century red tortoiseshell and brass boulle writing slope  of curvilinear form  with engraved brass contrasted with tortoiseshell  to all sides, opening to a velvet  (replacement )covered writing slope and compartments for stationary  and writing tools having two original inkwells, and a working lock and key. The inside is veneered in tulipwood and highly finished  Circa 1850.            


British Presentation Sword to an English Officer Serving in Portugal, 1810

With curved fullered blade double-edged towards the point and etched on one side with the recipient’s name, ‘Roberto Joanni Harvey’, and 'Beneficiorum Memores Septembro 1810’ in Latin beneath, and along one side with a list of those persons who contributed to the presentation, the hilt comprising ebony grip with gilt foliate grip studs, gilt cross-guard cast and chased with a crescent and acanthus leaves on each side, and quillons with bud-shaped terminals, in its re-leathered scabbard with gilt mounts, the scrolling borders engraved with foliate scrolls and chased with bands of leaves, and with fixed rings for suspension. 76 cm blade.

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Omphalos of Delphi / The Acanthus Column / Column of te Dancers

Delphi, Greece

3rd Century BCE

+13 m. high

The column, made up of five drums and a capital decorated with acanthus leaves and surmounted by an extension of the stem with three female figures standing 1.95 metres high,wearing chitoniskoi (short tunics) and carrying kalathoi. Their bare feet are suspended in the air and their arms are raised, making them look like dancers, which is how the column gets its name.

The fastenings at the top of the capital and the concave shape of the upper surface of the column drum at the level of the dancers’ heads suggests that the whole ensemble supported a colossal tripod (probably made of bronze) with its feet standing on top of the column and framing the heads of each of the dancers. It is supported with good evidence that the omphalos belonged to this complex, crowning the tripod.

Among the Ancient Greeks, it was a widespread belief that Delphi was the center of the world. According to the later patriarchal myths (not the original Goddess myths) regarding the founding of the Delphic Oracle, Zeus, in his attempt to locate the center of the earth, launched two eagles from the two ends of the world, and the eagles, starting simultaneously and flying at equal speed, crossed their paths above the area of Delphi. From this point, Zeus threw a stone from the sky to see where it will fall. The stone fell at Delphi, which since then was considered to be the center of the world, the omphalos - “navel of the earth”. Indeed, the same stone thrown by Zeus took the same name and became the symbol of Apollo, the sacred Oracle and more generally of the region of Delphi.



According to Vitruvius, the Corinthian capital is a stylized representation of acanthus leaves growing through a basket. The volute scrolls at four corners, which have been transformed into downward-turning foliage, are carried over from the Ionic capital. The slender, fluted column shaft of the Ionic order is repeated, but the overall proportions of the Ionic and Corinthian orders differ considerably, due to the doubled height of the later capital.

The Corinthian order remained in continuous use for a much longer time than the Doric and Ionic orders. Although the earliest examples date from the classical period, the Corinthian order was not widely-known until Praxiteles chose it for the circular temple sheltering the Aphrodite of Knidos (c. 330 BC). The order was used in the Hellenistic kingdoms and adopted by the conquering Romans, who used it throughout the empire. The order persisted through the 11th and 12th centuries, when Corinthian capitals in southern France and Spain served as models (and often as materials) for Romanesque foliate and historiated capitals.

Exquisite 17th- and 18th- century uses of the colossal Corinthian order, as seen at the Panthéon, belong to the rich history of the revival, rather than survival, of antiquity.

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Main cloister of the convent of Our Lady of Mercy, Cusco (Diego Martínez de Oviedo, c. 1660 - 1670)

“Hispanic colonial architecture knows nothing more beautiful than the cloister of the Merced. Magnificent handling of open space, lightness and grace combined with sturdy virility of mass, the deep beauty of the color, extraordinary richness and originality in treatment of textures, unerring taste in scale and proportions, all this and more make the Mercedarian cloister unique” 

Harold Wethey, 1944

One of the great masterpieces of Peruvian Baroque, the main cloister of the mercedarian convent in Cusco is the result of the extensive rebuilding produced after the destruction of the former building in the great earthquake of 1650. Its design is attributed to architect and ensamblador Diego Martínez de Oviedo, who worked in the rebuilding of the convent after the death of his father, architect Sebastián Martínez.

The cloister is square in plan, with two stories of six arches on each of its four sides. The main feature of the cloister is the presence of richly carved stone columns of Corinthian order placed over heavily rusticated arches and supporting the corresponding entablatures. These columns share the characteristics of those used in contemporary retablos, with the lower third separated from the rest of the fluted shaft by a ring of acanthus leaves, and adorned with tongue-shaped motives. On top of that, in the upper story two smaller columns support the arches on each side. 

The surrounding corridors are covered with richly carved wooden ceilings, except the one next to the church, adorned with domical vaults. A large array of paintings depicting the life of Saint Peter Nolasco is placed against the walls of the entire lower story.

All photos by the author, 2016.

Dream On post of the day

238 Main Street, Sag Harbor, New York
c.1833. 10,000 square feet. 7 bedrooms, 8.5 baths on 1.1 acres. $14,500,000! The historic Nathan P. Howell house is the largest property on renowned Captain’s Row and a rare example of period architecture, impeccably renovated to the highest level with original details including the double-hung sash windows, shutters, acanthus leaves, and moldings, expert craftsmanship, fine millwork and trim, antique wide plank floors, and marble mantles. This amazing property is on over an acre, totally landscaped with specimen trees and incredibly unique especially for Sag Harbor Village! Built in 1833 representing Sag Harbor’s most elaborate Greek Revival architecture, expanded and remodeled. For More Information: Susan Breitenbach, The Corcoran Group (631) 899-0303