Ram’s Head

51. Pendant: Ram’s Head

Accession Number77.AO.81.22
Date500–400 B.C.
DimensionsLength: 23 mm; width: 16 mm; depth: 12 mm; Weight: 2.2 g
View in Collection


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


The pendant is intact except for a tiny chip on the tip of the right horn. The surface retains much of its polish, even though there are many fine cracks and crazing over its entirety. Some dusty yellowish residue is evident in the incisions, and dirt or encrustation remains in the suspension perforation. In ambient light, the pendant is red, shiny, and somewhat translucent. In transmitted light, the amber is orange-red. There is an inclusion in the partially cleaned cavity at the throat.


In profile view, the head is a rectangle, broken only by the downward slope of the nose and the downward tilt of the chin. In top or bottom view, the head is triangular. The neck section is short. The pendant terminates in a pseudo-mount decoration that is larger in circumference than the neck. The somewhat cursory portrayal of the anatomy includes a more specific description of some features. The eyes have a slight bulge above for the arch, are plastic, and display a realistically long tear duct line; the ears show the swelling of the antitragus and the curve of the helix; and the chin is swelled and the throat subtly concave. The line of the mouth slants backward and downward. The ridges of the horns are suggested by five broad grooves between the poll and the ear (the rest of the horns are plain). The horn tips flare outward from the face. The cap of fleece is distinguished from the plane of the face by a shallow incision line.

The limits of the original shape of the amber nodule might be indicated by the flatness of the horns. Abrasion marks remain along the periphery of the cavity at the throat area. The collar of the pseudo-mount is made up of two engraved lines. On the back is a bead-and-reel–like device consisting of four broad vertical grooves. A 1.5 mm perforation for suspension passes laterally through the two engraved lines at the collar.


This ram’s head is by a hand different from that of any other in the Getty collection, and it has no related parallel.