Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I have an interest in the ancient world dating back to my student days, when I read Ancient History and Archaeology at university. My particular areas are the art and architecture of Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. When I began to collect Hermès scarves, I simply chose ones that I liked from the current season’s offer on the official website. Eventually, I ventured forth to sites like Vestiaire and Videdressing before braving eBay. A common theme began to emerge as I found scarves linked to my interests: Mare Nostrum, Persepolis, Les Secrets de Minos, and Escales Mediterranéenes joined my first ever H scarf, La Promenade de Platon. I have been keeping an eye open for others and, recently, Musique des Dieux appeared on eBay at a good price.
Musique des Dieux was designed for Hermès Autumn/Winter 1996 season by Claudia Stuhlhofer-Mayr. It depicts the Music of the Gods: music and dance of mythical Ancient Greece. (The colours in the slideshow below are the closest to real life).
The design has been created in a range of formats. I have the 90cm silk twill in shades of purple, blue, green, white and black. This colourway is very cool and elegant; others are bright and opulent and the scarves and shawls look very different according to the shades used. I do not have the code number for my version and would be very grateful if anyone could pass it on.
The Musique des Dieux design uses a central circle to frame the mythical scene of the meeting between the God Pan and the nymph Syrinx. Around this is a frieze, made up of four scenes contained within rectangular bordered shapes with fauns, satyrs, centaurs, nymphs and the God Hermès, dancing and playing musical instruments. Each of the four corners of the scarf have square frames with Greek key pattern borders containing named musical instruments. The words are written using the Greek alphabet.
The outer borders of the scarf have beribboned wreaths of leaves and fruit from a different plant on each of the four sides: ivy, grape vines, laurel and olive. Oak leaves with acorns surround the central frame. Four tiny key patterned squares are set at the outermost corners.
The colours of my version of the scarf are used very subtly. The figures are in black and white and are drawn in a similar way to those on Athenian Black-Figure vases. The background to these figures is a pale lilac and instruments, foliage and columns are touched with mauve and blue. The leaves and fruits are in muted greens with the ribbons shading from lilac to mauve. The edge patterns to the frames are picked out in black, white and pale blues.
The design has been offered as a silk twill 90cm scarf, a cashmere/silk 140cm shawl, bracelets and also other formats such as cushions, plissé scarves etc. So far, I have found photos of scarves/shawls in these colourways, although I am sure that more were available. They are not easy to find in image types suitable for this post.
Here we have some other formats:
The story is told how Syrinx, an Arcadian nymph and the model of virtue, once changed herself into reeds to escape the attentions of the great Pan. The frolicsome, but wily god, however, cut these same reeds and formed them into a rustic flute, whose plaintive accents still pipe to us the frustration of the swain and the breathlessness of the beauty. Fauns, nymphs, satyrs, centaurs and the god Hermès in person, make a frieze to frame this primeval drama of sexual harassment.
Here are some closeups of my scarf in a slideshow format:
How I wear the scarf
I have only worn the scarf once so far and here is the resulting collage. As I wear it more, I will add the collages here. The scarf, as you can see, looks great with purple clothes and I will also wear it with white and, perhaps, navy. Black would work well, but I don’t wear that colour these days!
These are a few quick ties that I made to show the details and colours of the scarf. As the scarf is quite “well used” it is very soft, so works quite well with ties such as the waterfall knot. It is also quite versatile as there is interest all over the design, from the central scene, to the friezes, the foliage borders and also the corners.
1) Top row L to R: criss-cross knot, cowl knot, waterfall knot.
2) Middle row L to R: cowboy cowl, asymmetric wrap, half bow knot.
3) Bottom row L to R: asymmetric wrap, collar knot, cowboy knot.
Scarf ring used above is mother-of-pearl by MaiTai.
To follow the design of the scarf, I first researched some background information about Syrinx and Pan:
Article about Syrinx the nymph and the pipes bearing her name.
Greek Legends and Myths
The Naiad Syrinx in Greek Mythology
Short illustrated article.
J. Paul Getty Museum
Pan and Syrinx
Shows an eighteenth century painting of the mythical meeting by Jean-François de Troy, with a short explanation.
Now a few links and videos about Ancient Greek music and musical instruments:
Music of Ancient Greece
Usual style of Wikipedia article.
Ancient Greek music: now we finally know what it sounded like
Interesting article with illustrations and videos explaining recent discoveries.
Ancient Greek Music by Michael Lahanas
Very detailed article with interesting images. Quite an old fashioned looking web page, but the information appears to be comprehensive.
Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology
The Musical Instruments of Ancient Greeks
Very comprehensive list of the instruments with short explanations.
List of Instrument Info
Music of Ancient Greece
List of Ancient Greek musical instruments.
I hope readers have found this exploration of Musique des Dieux both interesting and useful. Once again, if you find any errors or have any additional information that I could add, please don’t hesitate to contact me.