Ram’s Head

50. Pendant: Ram’s Head

Accession Number77.AO.81.21
Date500–400 B.C.
DimensionsLength: 25.5 mm; width: 14 mm; depth: 17 mm; Weight: 3.0 g
View in Collection


–1977, Gordon McLendon (Dallas, TX), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1977.


The pendant is intact except for a modern chip on the proper right side at the base. A fine fracture line extends from the bottom of the proper left horn to the center of the lower jaw. There is a deep gouge in the throat area and a small deterioration hole in the left cheek. The surface may have been consolidated with amber oil, resulting in a semiglossy, light brown surface color in ambient light. In the incisions are found dusty yellow-brown encrustations. In transmitted light, the amber is translucent and red and an extensive crack network underlying the surface is seen. There are no visible inclusions.


Viewed dorsally, the ram’s head is narrow and triangular, flaring only slightly from the tip of the nose to the back of the head. In profile, the head is more triangular in shape than most rams’ heads in the Getty group. The plane of the face is delineated from the fleece by a shallow incision. The eye is amygdaloidal in shape, outlined with an engraved line, and a line indicates the tear ducts. The temple area swells slightly above the plane of the face. In profile, the nose curves smoothly downward. The right nostril is carved more deeply and is wider than the left. The ears are plastically modeled and lie flat on the horns. Seven ridges are carved between the root of the horn on the forehead and the horn’s intersection with the tip of the ear. In profile, the horns are broad and flat. The chin and throat area has a slight swelling at the jugular notch. The collar area is set off from the animal by a crudely engraved line. On the base is a low, rectangular device that is schematically carved. Two horizontal lines cross the base, and vertical lines are incised at both sides.

Natural holes in the amber, perhaps resulting from original, now-missing inclusions, are evident under the neck and the left ear. The surface is worn, but traces of a sawlike edge tool are visible on the horns and on the pseudo-suspension device; traces of a graver appear around the eyes and the poll. A 2 mm perforation for suspension has been bored laterally about 1 mm through the collar section. The pendant would have hung head downward.


This head is very similar in shape to (cat. no. 48), but the execution is much more schematic in most details, with the exception of the tear duct extension, which is anatomically precise.