Oval gem with Castor or Pollux and horse

Roman
Imperial Period
about A.D. 275


Dimensions

Length x width: 13 x 11 mm (1/2 x 7/16 in.)

Accession Number

62.1147

Medium or Technique

Onyx

Not On View

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

White onyx with thin horizontal orange stripe towards the bottom. Intaglio. Flat front and back with inward back bezel and very slight inward front bezel. A man stands beside his horse facing right. The figures are situated on a ground line. He wears a brimmed cap and holds a barely discernable lance. The man is lanky and the limbs of the horse are thin and slight. There is an overall lack of defined musculature, facial features, and other details, and the carving is quite shallow and cursory.

While no specific attribute, such as a star, appears on this gem that links the figure directly to one of the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, scholars commonly have identified the composition as such based on other gems in which attributes do appear.

Provenance

By 1961: Dr. L. Lahut Uzman Collection (according to his records: Sent: Tuba - Istanbul (1961). Yeni Istanbul.); 1962: inherited by Mrs. L. Lahut Uzman; December 12, 1962: one of the group of 20 gems (62.1145–62.1164) purchased by MFA from Mrs. L. Lahut Uzman for a total price of $ 2,200-

Credit Line

Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Zoë Wilbour