The Musée d’Histoire et d’Archéologie in Orléans houses the great bronze treasure of Neuvy-en-Sullias – 33 art pieces from the gallic and gallo-roman period in the begin of our era. There is much more to see in this museum but the bronze treasure alone is already worth your visit.
Top pieces in the Musée d’Histoire et d’Archéologie in Orléans are the horse (54 kilos without the bronze pedestal) and the wild boar (125 cm long). You better bring a chair to sit in front of them for a while and admire this art that is unique in Europe. Let the refined craft work and the beauty sink in…
The bronze artefacts were found 1861 in Neuvy-en-Sullias in a hidden place next to the Loire river – most probably an offer to celtic gods like Rudiobus. Recent studies reveal that they were partly restaured at that time and not always in the right way.
Probably the top of this wild boar was placed on the wrong animal and must have belonged to the other wild boar. The rings on the pedestal of the horse, that probably served to carry the horse around in religious ceremonies, might not be the right ones but the other 4 ones in the showcase…
Amazing is also the series of small figurines: with gestures and movement and mostly nude. They do not look like roman art and their signification is unknown. One assumption is that they represent the naked dancing that came with gallic carnaval.
A guide in the Musée d’Histoire et d’Archéologie in Orléans was very enthusiastic about the treasure himself and most willing to show all the details. He also gave me the website address of JF Bradu who made scientific studies about the artefacts and published his findings. It made my visit even more interesting.
There is some more to see, first of all the Hôtel Cabu that houses the Musée d’Histoire et d’Archéologie in Orléans: built in 1548 in renaissance style.
Some objects in other parts of the museum I liked:
The intriguing statue of Saint Denis, the first bishop of France who was sent by pope Clemens to convert the Gauls and was decapitated by the Romans in 205. The story tells that he made it all the way from Montmartre to Saint Denis while carrying his decapitated head in his hands.
Nice plagues – very different in style and theme.
The drawing of a wild animal that wreaked havoc around Orléans, with a poem-like text next to it. An intriguing story, what kind of animal was that? When you stand there you can feel the fear people had for the cruelty of nature.
The Loire had tremendous inundations in the past. Signs in the city remind people to that: nothing new in nowadays high waters, showing that we are not yet on the level of the old days. In 1846 Alexandre Joseph Caboche saved paintress Mlle Schmitt from the flood and she painted his portrait with the cross of the Légion d’Honneur that he received.
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