Amulet with Demeter, Harpokrates/Triptolemos, and Persephone

Roman
Imperial Period
3rd century A.D.


Place of Manufacture: Probably Egypt

Dimensions

Height: 3.1 cm (1 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

1997.62

Medium or Technique

Gold

On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Pendants

At the left stands Demeter, goddess of grain, as shown in Egypt, with a tall torch and a veiled head surmounted by a grain basket. At the right is her daughter Persephone, queen of the Underworld, holding a scepter and with two ears of grain emerging from her head. Between them is an adolescent wearing the cloak of Greek travelers and soldiers (chlamys) and the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The crown marks the youth as the Egyptian god Harpokrates, son of Isis and Osiris/Serapis. The cloak, however, identifies the youth with the Greek hero Triptolemos, who was sent by Demeter to teach agriculture to the world.

(entry from the Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World, no. 218)

Loops attached to the back indicate that it was worn around the neck suspended on a chain. It is worked in repousse technique.

Provenance

By 1991: with Sotheby's, 1334 York Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10021 (Sotheby's auction, June 18, 1991, lot 197 [according to R. Keresey: from a New York Art Consortium-- now defunct]); by 1995: with Antiqua, Inc., 6320 Canoga Avenue, Suite 1770, Woodland Hills, California 91367 (Antiqua, Inc., Catalogue II, no. 66, pp. 32-33, illus.); May 21, 1997: purchased by MFA from Antiqua, Inc.

Credit Line

Benjamin and Lucy Rowland Fund