Monday, August 8, 2016

#OlympicsDidYouKnow 1932 Summer Olympics

‪#‎OlympicsDidYouKnow‬ The winners of the 1932 Summer Olympics received diplomas decorated with designs based on those of the artifacts in the Los Angeles Museum’s Victor Merlo Collection of Classical Antiquities.

The curator of the Los Angeles Museum at that time, Mr. H. M. Kurtzworth, personally designed the diplomas with imagery akin to that of the original Olympic games, such as horizontal rows on the top and bottom of the diplomas depicting different portions of the games, for example, a judge, equestrian sports, and music and dance. Additionally, the diplomas featured olive branches and a modern representation of Athena wearing a Doric chiton. 

Based on the style of the Dorians who invaded Greece in 1100s B.C., the chiton was formed from wrapping one rectangular piece of fabric around the body. Both men and women wore chitons. However, men wore theirs knee-length, while women wore theirs much longer.

The collector of these antiquities, Victor Merlo, was a correspondent of David M. Robinson for over twenty years. Over 100 surgical instruments, now on display in the UM Museum’s Gods and Men summer exhibit, once belonged to Merlo, as well as over 55 Roman glass vials currently housed in the UM Museum. 
Make sure to check tomorrow’s post about the equestrian sport dressage and its connection to ancient Greece!

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