If sculpture in stone appears to have
been very little practiced in the Mycenaean age, the arts of
the goldsmith, silversmith, gem- engraver, and ivory carver
were in great requisition. The shaft- graves of Mycenae
contained, besides other things, a rich treasure of gold
objects – masks, drinking-cups, diadems, ear-rings,
finger-rings, and so on, also several silver vases. One of
the latter may be seen in Fig. 43. It is a large jar, about
two and one half feet in height, decorated below with
horizontal flutings and above with continuous spirals in
repousse (i.e., hammered) work. Most of the gold objects
must be passed over, interesting though many of them are.
But we may pause a moment over a group of circular ornaments
in thin gold-leaf about two and one half inches in diameter,
of which 701 specimens were found, all in a single grave.
The patterns on these discs were not executed with a free
hand, but by means of a mold. There are fourteen patterns in
all, some of them made up of spirals and serpentine curves,
others derived from vegetable and animal forms. Two of the
latter class are shown in Figs. 34, 35. One is a butterfly,
the other a cuttle- fish, both of them skilfully
conventionalized. It is interesting to note how the antennae
of the butterfly and still more the arms of the cuttle-fish
are made to end in the favorite spiral.