Ram’s Head

53. Spout or Finial: Ram’s Head

Accession Number82.AO.161.4
Date500–400 B.C.
DimensionsLength: 26 mm; width: 17 mm; depth: 13 mm; Weight: 1.5 g
SubjectsJewelry; Ram
View in Collection


–1982, Jiří Frel, 1923–2006, and Faya Frel (Los Angeles, CA), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.


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.


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.


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 , cat. no. 34).