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Musée Jacquemart André
L'Or des Thraces

Musée Jacquemart andré, until january 31, 2007.

Treasures of goldsmithery found in the sumptuous tumulus of the kings of ancient Bulgaria.
Everyone knows the most famous of Thraces: Spartacus, the gladiator which took the head of the revolt of the slaves in Rome into 88, was former overcome king thrace. This brilliant civilization, remote heiress of that of Varna, cradle of the first gold of humanity, finishes indeed, like so many others, under the road roller of the Roman Empire in year 15 of our era. But meanwhile what a splendours! Which luxury and which perfection in the work of the jewels, and especially of the money and gold plate, found in immense the tumulus which enamel the country.
Per hour when Bulgaria is on the point of entering Europe, the Museum Jacquemart-Andre pays homage to this civilization very badly known because of the long insulation of this small country. Populate without writing, they are by Homère that one discovers Thraces, allied of Troyens in the Trojan War. “They are the people most after the Indians”, writes he in Iliade. “They are riders with the weapons étincelantes, and the beautiful white horses like snow, forks and spoons of gold armours which are appropriate to the gods.”
With the crossroads of Eastern Europe of the South and Asia of South-west, it was people of riders and warriors, a mosaic of kingdoms unceasingly in conflict, but speaking the same language and practising the same religion, dominated by the worship of the goddess-mother Ground. This mixture of influences inevitably leaves us an impression of already considering.
The dominating place of the horse, for example, in protomés on let us rhytons - horns with drinking - of solid gold, engraved on the kylix, on the vases, sumptuous made harnessings of money pastilles decorated with often animalist scenes, this omnipresence of the noblest conquest of the man evokes us the warriors of the steppes. The scenes of royal hunting, the hybrids man-animal, the winged horses, let us scratch, bring closer them Sassanides of Persia. The combat of animals stylized and realistic at the same time - lions attacking a horse - in gold sculpture in the round on money vases point out the art of the Scythians. And this torque of twisted gold of the treasure of Letnitsa reminds us that the Celts, during their long migrations, also passed by there… But manner of treating these animals, the perfect representation of the horses fringants in particular, the choice of the shapes of crockery - kylix, let us rhytons, phiales (cuts decorated at the bottom with a figure in relief) and a vase with red drawings on black bottom evoke obviously Greece. With a nuance close however, it is that Greek and Thraces were mutually influenced in the creation of their artistic vocabulary.
Crucible and cradle of the most brilliant cultures of Eastern Antiquity, the artistic production of Thraces had remained ignored a long time. The most beautiful treasures exposed to Jacquemart-Andre, that of Letnitsa, found in a tumulus by workmen in 1963, that of Borovo, discovered by a peasant in 1974, the treasure of Rogozen (165 objects, is 20 kilos of noble metal), put at the day during the digging of a channel, that of Panagurishté (a ritual whole of containers worked with an extreme meticulousness and a great force in the movement, representing 6 kilos of gold), absolute masterpiece of the hellenistic time, all were initially the fruit of fortuitous discoveries.
Since, Bulgaria undertook a programme of systematic excavations of its enormous tumuli, royal or princely tombs, crowned rooms devoted to the religious mysteries or buried sanctuaries. The discoveries multiply, a such extraordinary helmet, worthy of the science fiction, out of bronze and applications of money and gold, with barb, moustache, mask-cheeks, protect-nose and plumet of metal, in this country which was the largest noble metal producer of Antiquity.

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