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Dunstable swan jewel


The dunstable swan jewel is a livery badge, worn as a declaration of allegiance to a noble family or a king. It is made from opaque white enamel fused over gold, and the chain and coronet attached to the swan's neck are also gold.
Steel peacock

Peacocks were symbols of beauty and courtly pleasures throughout the Islamic world. The birds were often allowed to wander around the gardens of noblemen, and models of peacocks ornamented the famous Peacock Throne, taken from India to Iran in 1739.
Bronze group of a bull and acrobat

Тhis solid cast Minoan bronze depicts an acrobat somersaulting over a bull's head to land with both feet on its back. The arms and legs end in stumps; it is not clear whether this was by design or because the bronze did not flow into the extremities of the mould. Minoan bronzes tend to be low in tin, which meant the alloy did not flow well, and also gives a characteristic bubbly surface.
Burghead bull


Тhis carved slab is one of six similar stones, each with a figure of a bull, found together on the site of a major Pictish fortress at Burghead on the north Scottish coast.
Pipe in the form of an otter


Excavations in Ohio have uncovered superbly carved pipes and other exotic trade goods and fine artworks dating from the Hopewell culture (200 BC-AD 100). These pipes are carved in the shapes of different birds and animals, and may have been smoked for purification during rituals, and to strengthen political allegiances.
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), A Surinam caiman fighting a South American false coral snake

Maria Sibylla Merian spent much of her life in Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Amsterdam specializing in painting plants, animals and insects on vellum. In 1699 she travelled to Surinam, a Dutch colony in South America, where she made extensive notes and sketches, and collected dried plants and animals preserved in alcohol. She returned to Amsterdam in 1701, where in 1705 she published her work on Surinamese insects, the first scientific work produced about the colony.
Marble statue of a youth on horseback


Тhis statue portrays a young Roman dressed as a hero – naked except for his military cloak (paludamentum). The youth’s arms and three of the horse’s legs are sixteenth-century restorations.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), The Jockey

Тhis lithograph was originally intended to be part of a set for a portfolio on a racing theme. Toulouse-Lautrec was suffering acute alcoholic collapse at the time, and this was the only print of the set that was completed. Three further works from the proposed series survive, but only one of these approaches a finished state. The Jockey was issued in two editions, first as a monochrome lithograph, and secondly in a colour version.
Head of the horse of Selene


This marble head of the horse of Selene, goddess of the Moon, is from the east pediment of the Parthenon temple in Athens. It is perhaps the most famous and best loved of all the Parthenon sculptures.
Silver tetradrachm of Athens

In 482 bc an enormous vein of silver was discovered at the Athenian silver mines in Laurium. After much debate, the silver was used to increase the Athenian navy. This improved Athenian fleet defeated the Achaemenid Persians at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, a victory that turned the course of the Persian War. The Greeks went on to win the war and secure mainland Greece from Persian invasion.