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FOR DECORATION OR MAGIC? AMBER FINDS FROM THE STONE AGE

The oldest amber works in Europe date to the last Palaeolithic Era (13,700-12,200 BC).

These are pendants decorated with figures of animals and birds and groups of carvings.

Amber processing locations spread on the south eastern shores of the Baltic in the Middle and Late Neolithic eras (4300/4200-2000 BC).

Reflections of Stone Age man's craftsmanship and how he comprehended the world and spiritual life remain to this day and are transferred via unique art works: anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, pendants, brooches, tube-shaped beads, discs and chains.

Although the amber works produced using elementary tools adorned the clothes of our ancestors, they also give an indication of their understanding of the spiritual world.

Amber discs, pendants and figurines depicting a person or animal were decorated with symbolic ornaments that comprised of the simplest carved straight lines, dents, waves or holes.

Stone Age ceramics and amber works give us insight as to the world view of people from that time.

For example, on an amber disc, a round amulet with dots forming a cross, an image of a model of the world can be seen. These are four parts of the world, four seasons, four phases of the Moon and times of the day, such as morning, evening, night and day.

The disc of particularly yellow amber symbolised the Sun. Stone Age burials reveal the tradition of our ancestors to place amber discs of the eyes of the deceased. A disc was also a depiction of the Moon because both of these heavenly bodies would regulate order in the world, people's life rhythm, their hours of work and rest all depended on them. The cyclical nature of the world and life was and remains a phenomenon that forces people to take fundamental things into consideration - a phenomenon in which amber is also closely entwined.

Interesting to know:

Archaeological material helps us gain a better understanding of the people who lived in the times before written history, their material and spiritual cultural characteristics. Archaeological amber works give us an indication of almost six thousand years of amber traditions.

In the Stone Age people used flint to process amber, it was used to carve the surface of amber or to make holes.

The holes would be bored from both sides in turn-amulets and pendants from that period had V-shaped holes. They used sand as a polishing material, and attained a more intense shine by rubbing the amber over fur or leather.

(Source: Lithuanian Art Museum, pgm.lt)