©J. Paul Getty Trust

Causey, Faya. Cat. 53, Spout or Finial: Ram’s 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/53/>

Cat. 53, Spout or Finial: Ram’s Head

Italic, 500-400 B.C.
Length: 26 mm; width: 17 mm; depth: 13 mm; Weight: 1.5 g
82.AO.161.4
Cat. 53 - Ram’s Head
Italic
500-400 B.C.
Length: 26 mm; width: 17 mm; depth: 13 mm
Weight: 1.5 g
82.AO.161.4
Rams’ Heads
Related Objects... Ram | Jewelry

Condition

The piece is largely intact, suffering only a large break and loss to the right base of the right horn. A depression on the left horn may be ancient, as the rest of the horn curves around the flaw. The surface is covered by a thin, light tan alteration crust; freshly exposed areas have deteriorated further to a yellow-ocher. In some areas, the surface appears slightly granular. Additionally, the surface is crazed and has yellowish residue in the cracks. The piece is yellowish gray in ambient light. At the break, the piece is orange. In transmitted light, it is opaque.

Description

The ram’s head is long and slender, with a sloping muzzle. A slight ridge sets the fleece of the poll and cheeks off from the muzzle and horns. The surviving left horn spirals in an oval, with irregular grooves indicating ridges. The eyes are closed. A shallow groove surrounds the muzzle; no other features are indicated.

A large perforation, 10 mm at the base and narrowing to 3 mm at the tip of the nose, runs through the pendant, likely for suspension. This form of suspension perforation is rare for amber pendants.

Discussion

The longitudinal suspension perforation and the schematic carving suggest that this head served as the spout of a small vessel, a design element of a ring, or the small finial of a necklace. The last is the most likely since the opening is tapered toward the mouth, and the bottom of the ram’s head is not flat. There are few Greek, Etruscan, or Italic examples of longitudinally perforated figured objects in amber or any other material (see also the Getty Lion’s Head 76.AO.81; cat. no. 34).

Cat. 53, Spout or Finial: Ram’s Head

ANCIENT CARVED AMBERS IN THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM
Footnotes
Tables
Related Objects
Other objects in Rams’ Heads
Other objects by index term... Ram , Jewelry
Bibliography
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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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