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Causey, Faya. Cat. 46, Pendant: Ram’s Head, Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum
Ed. Faya Causey. Los Angeles: Getty P, 2012. museumcatalogues.getty.edu. Web. 24 May 2019.

Cat. 46, Pendant: Ram’s Head

Italic, 500-400 B.C.
Length: 32 mm; width: 16 mm; depth: 13 mm; Weight: 3.5 g
Gift of Gordon McLendon, 77.AO.81.16
Cat. 46 - Ram’s Head
500-400 B.C.
Length: 32 mm; width: 16 mm; depth: 13 mm
Weight: 3.5 g
Gift of Gordon McLendon
Rams’ Heads
Related Objects... Ram


The pendant is intact, with only minute chips at the tip of the left ear and at the tip of the right horn. There is crazing overall. Several cracks are visible, most notably under the left side of the chin. There is a small vertical crack extending across the left side of the mouth. The piece has been treated with amber oil. The surface is a dark, dull red. With transmitted light, the pendant is dark red but does not itself transmit very much light. No inclusions are evident.


This head and the following three (cat. nos. 47, 48, and 49) are attributed here to the same hand and are thus described as a group in this entry. Three (77.AO.81.16, 77.AO.81.17, and 77.AO.81.19) are nearly identical in weight, mass, type, form, and style. All four have nearly identical plastic suspension devices incorporated into the pendant design: in each, a hole is drilled through the neck, and not through the device. 77.AO.81.18 is slightly different, showing a greater affinity to live sheep, the head being higher and deeper, and the angle of the lower skull more natural. The other three heads are in comparison longer and narrower in profile and more slender in top or bottom view. Identical features of all four include the shape of the hollow eyes—hemispheric concavities and heavy overhanging lids, with the fine, irregularly spaced cross-hatching. All four have fleece indicated on the poll, the back of the neck, and the cheeks. The horns of each are carinated from base to tip in a chevron pattern, and in each small ears lie directly on the horns. On the upper side, the ears are cut away, leaving small, shelflike plateaus. On each, the rendering of the ear and the horn is especially careful. The head of 77.AO.81.16 is longer and more slender than the heads of the other four. On all four, tiny V-shaped incisions indicate the nares.

Traces of tools remain on all the pendants, indicating the use of a sharp tool (or sharp edge) for the cross-hatching, a graver, and abrasive materials for the polishing. Inside one of the sets of holes, the rill marks of a drill are apparent. On all four of the pendants in this group, the hole for suspension is located in the neck, very near to the plane of the back. The holes range in diameter from 1.62 mm to 2.2 mm. 77.AO.81.16 would have hung nose downward.


The differences among the pendants of this group are probably owing to the form of the original drops of amber from which they were made. In the case of this pendant, the blank must have been more rectangular than that of the other three.

Cat. 46, Pendant: Ram’s Head

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To see the entire bibliography, click here.


. Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles: Getty P, 2012. museumcatalogues.getty.edu. Web. 24 May 2019.


. In Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum, last modified August 1, 2012, accessed 24 May 2019. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2012. museumcatalogues.getty.edu/amber/.

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