The reinstalled exhibition traces the development of Classical art over a period of 2,000 years. It showcases a rare collection of Greek pottery from 3,500 years ago, vases portraying scenes from Greek mythology, exquisite jewelry including a magnificent gold wreath from the Hellenistic period, necklaces, rare gold and crystal earrings and beautiful bracelets.
On July 1st, 2008, the new installation of the "Glories of Ancient Greece" opened at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem. The exhibition includes a unique collection of Greek jewelry and exceptional pottery decorated with scenes from Greek Mythology. The exhibition is on display in a special gallery of the museum that has been renovated for its reinstallation. In the words of Amanda Weiss, Managing Director of the BLMJ, "there is no comparable collection of Classical art of such quality in Israel. This exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to see the development of Classical art over a period of 2,000 years on some of the finest examples of pottery and jewelry."
The highlight of the exhibition is a magnificent Greek gold wreath (late 4th-early 3rd Century BCE) which personifies the Glories of Ancient Greece and its prosperity as a powerful empire during the Hellenistic Period. The use of gold and silver was indicative to status and prestige. This wreath, made of a series of die-stamped laurel leaves, is reminiscent of the laurel wreaths that were a symbol of victory for champions of the Greek games.
This collection is on loan from the private collections of Batya and Elie Borowski, founders of the BLMJ. The late Dr. Elie Borowski curated the initial exhibition of "Glories", and it was his tremendous knowledge and appreciation for the beauties of the classical world that inspired him to assemble these treasures long ago. Ms. Weiss fondly recalls the words of Elie Borowski as he marveled at the quality of the artistry, saying "The jewelry is so delicate that it is almost a miracle to think of the way how it was made and the tools used to make them by Greek artisans 3,500 years ago." (Dr. Elie Borowski, z"l.)
The lives of the ancient Greeks echo in the objects of the exhibition. In their moments of sadness and grief, Lekythoi (vessels used for oils and perfumes), such as the black-figured Lekythos (ca. 510-500 BCE) on display, would be used. The figures on it, Herakles and Apollo, heroes from the world of Greek Mythology, appear on white background. In times of holidays and merriment, different types of vessels were used for the feasts such as the Amphora (a large storage vessel) where wines for the feast were kept. On an Attic Neck-Amphora (ca. 720 BCE) from the late Geometric period, there is a rhythmic depiction of people, deer and horse-drawn carriages in the schematic geometric style. Alongside the Geometric vases stands a particularly unusual vessel, an Oinochoe shaped as a woman (ca. 470-450 BCE), which was used to pour the wine for jovial celebrants who drank until inebriated.