Cameo of Medusa

Imperial Period
2nd century A.D.


Length x width: 19.3 x 15 mm (3/4 x 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Banded agate

Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Banded white agate on thin gray layer with some reddish tones in hair. Cameo in high relief. Head of Medusa turned slightly to the right in the Hellenistic “pathetic” tradition. Her face is very full and her skin smooth. The carving of her features is quite detailed: the upper and lower eyelids, pupils, nostrils, and the vertical groove between nose and mouth are visible. Her mouth is small and her lips seem slightly pursed. The hair is parted in the center and arranged in short curls framing the face. A wedge-shaped section is missing from the left side but on the right, a wing appears in the hair in low relief. Wings in the hair are typical for depictions of Medusa on both cameos and intaglios. Chipped along all edges of perimeter. Uneven back surface with small indentations of various sizes.


Said to be from Syrian Antioch on MFA archival card; by date unknown: Burton Y. Berry Collection; gift to MFA from Burton Y. Berry in Memory of Michel Chiha of Beirut, October 15, 1969

Credit Line

Gift of Burton Y. Berry in memory of Michel Chiha of Beirut