©J. Paul Getty Trust

Causey, Faya. Cat. 19, Pendant: Female Head, Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum
Ed. Faya Causey. Los Angeles: Getty P, 2012. museumcatalogues.getty.edu. Web. 15 December 2018.
<http://museumcatalogues.getty.edu/amber/objects/19/>

Cat. 19, Pendant: Female Head

Italic, 425-400 B.C.
Height: 29 mm; width: 38 mm; depth: 14 mm; Diameter of suspension hole: 2 mm; Weight: 10.5 g
Gift of Vasek Polak, 83.AO.202.5
Cat. 19 - Female Head
Italic
425-400 B.C.
Height: 29 mm; width: 38 mm; depth: 14 mm
Diameter of suspension hole: 2 mm
Weight: 10.5 g
83.AO.202.5
Gift of Vasek Polak
Pendants in the Form of the Human Head
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Condition

The pendant is in poor condition, and most detailed features are lost. The nose and the left eye are broken off. The surface is chipped and flaking, with many minute losses. The outermost brown alteration layer is flaking; the layer below is more compact and stable. Opaque and yellow-brown in ambient light, it is translucent and dark orange in transmitted illumination. There are no visible inclusions.

Description

The pendant was carved from a lobed piece of amber. One section was used for the face, and another small spur for a section of the neck—this is located to the back of the mouth. A third lobe, at the back of the head and flangelike in shape, is plausibly a wing. It does not have any engraved lines.

83.AO.202.5 represents the head and a section of the neck of a female. Although the piece is fragmentary, it is evident that the head was wide across the brow and tapered at the chin, much like that of 83.AO.202.4 (cat. no. 18). The eye and the bridge of the nose are broken off. The nose is clearly triangular in form, although much of it is missing. The upper lip area is short. The mouth is almost straight, but the bottom lip turns up slightly. The engraved line that separates the lips is curved upward slightly in a smile. The sulcus is short and shallow, and the chin wide and full, with a prominent chin boss. Above the brow is a fringe of bangs, the strands marked by vertical striations. Behind the bangs is a smooth, rounded-top cap. The two engraved lines separating the hair from hat depict the rim, which is either a flat turnup or a rounded roll-up.

The suspension perforation runs through the top of the head. When worn, the head would have been seen in profile to the left, the forehead tilted forward, casting the eyes downward.

Discussion

From the front view, the lips, mouth, and chin resemble two heads, one from Tomb 164 and one from Tomb 428 at Banzi.[1] The lower part of the face bears a familial likeness to a seated figure from Tolve.[2] For further discussion, see cat. no. 18.


Footnotes

  1. For the ambers from Banzi, see Bottini 1987. Illustrated in Magie d’ambra 2005, pp. 122, 125.

  2. For the Tolve figure, see Magie d’ambra 2005, p. 114.

Cat. 19, Pendant: Female Head

ANCIENT CARVED AMBERS IN THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM
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MLA

. Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles: Getty P, 2012. museumcatalogues.getty.edu. Web. 15 Dec. 2018.

Chicago

. In Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum, last modified August 1, 2012, accessed 15 Dec. 2018. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2012. museumcatalogues.getty.edu/amber/.

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