Oval gem with a bust of an Eastern ruler

Greek
Hellenistic Period
1st century B.C.


Catalogue Raisonné

Lewes House Gems, no. 098 (1920; 2002, additional published references).

Dimensions

Length: 20 mm (13/16 in.)

Accession Number

27.716

Medium or Technique

Carnelian

On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

Intaglio. Convex back, carved on flat side. Head of a man (possibly Ariobarzanes I of Cappadoccia), facing left. He wears a pointed cap, with a very small brim, a flap hanging down the back of his neck, and two side flaps, folded over the front, top of the cap; the tapered end of the far-side flap is visible above his ear. He has lines on his forehead, fleshy jowls, and a hook nose with a bump on the bridge. He wears a torc, with ends shaped as clubs, pehaps alluding to Herakles. On the side of face, just below his sideburn, is a small circle in front of the ear, as if to mark the drilling of a hole that was unfinished.

Provenance

By 1899: with Edward Perry Warren (according to J. D. Beazley, The Lewes House Collection of Ancient Gems, no. 98: Bought in 1899 from W. T. Ready, who reported it to have been found on the Euphrates. (Furtwängler says that it came from the East, and was at one time in the possession of Mr. Lau.); April 5, 1926: loaned to MFA by Edward Perry Warren (as 85.26); November 17, 1927: purchased for MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 161,000.00 (this figure is the total price for MFA 27.647-27.761)

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912