A stunning pair of gold earrings, shaped like lynxes and adorned with intricate engravings of stars, droplets, and crescents, were discovered near the ancient Armenian city of Ani. Once a bustling metropolis hailed as the “city of a thousand and one churches”, Ani sits across the Akhuryan River from Armenia.
Weighing in at 22 grams, these medieval artifacts have been preserved at the Kars Archaeology and Ethnography Museum. The earrings, which have left archaeologists in awe with their craftsmanship, are set to be showcased at the museum in 2023, having been safely stored in a warehouse until now.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Yavuz Çetin, the museum’s director, emphasized Kars’ historical significance as an ancient Armenian city located along the famed Silk Road. He highlighted that Kars has been home to numerous civilizations over time, as evidenced by significant archaeological sites like Köşevenk and Mağazberk near the Ani Ruins.
Çetin elaborated on the cultural significance of the lynx in art and symbolism, explaining, “Historically, humans have drawn inspiration from animals, often attributing certain characteristics to them. The lynx, with its raw power and ferocity, is a prime example. This influence can be seen in various artistic representations.” He further noted that the lynx is no stranger to the Kars region. The earrings, discovered in the village of Subatan, located approximately 16 kilometers north of Ani, were brought to the museum in 1994.
The museum director expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming exhibition of the earrings, inviting everyone to witness their artistic elegance firsthand: “These lynx-shaped earrings, with their elaborate motifs, epitomize artistic sophistication.”
Ani, with a history that spans over 1,600 years, was strategically positioned on several trade routes. By the 11th century, it was a thriving walled city housing more than 100,000 inhabitants. However, its prominence waned by the 1300s, leading to its complete abandonment by the 1700s.
Featured Image: The lynx-shaped gold earrings from near the Ani Ruins, located in Kars, Turkey. Photo: AA.