Oval gem with head of wreathed goddess, perhaps Minerva

Roman
Early Imperial Period
Late 1st century B.C.—1st century A.D.


Dimensions

Length: 12.5 x 11.2 mm (1/2 x 7/16 in.)

Accession Number

69.1203

Medium or Technique

Carnelian

Not On View

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

Brownish carnelian (also called sard). Intaglio. Flat front surface and convex back surface. The head of a wreathed goddess faces in profile to left. Her wavy hair is styled into a small chignon from which one long curl escapes and cascades down her neck. Her facial features are idealized and distinctly rendered. She wears a necklace with small drop-shaped beads. At her neck are two small writhing snakes. She is perhaps Minerva, if the snakes rise from her aegis, but it is not certain since an aegis itself is not visible and since there is a strong tendency to depict the goddess helmeted. There is a rough chip at the top of the gem which damaged the crown of the figure’s head. The surfaces are highly polished.

Provenance

Said to be from Macedonia 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