Oval gem with muse holding a mask

Imperial Period
about 1st century


Length: 13 mm (1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Milky-white chalcedony. Intaglio. Flat front and back with slight inward front bezel and deeper inward back bezel. A muse, possibly Thalia, the muse of comedy and pastoral poetry, sits on a stool, with her head in profile to the left, her torso frontal, and her lower body in three-quarter view. Her left leg is stretched out before her, and her right knee is bent. She wears a long tunic (chiton) with a mantle slung over her thighs. The muse is gazing at a theater mask held in her outstretched right hand; her left arm reaches back to hold an upright shepherd’s crook (pedum). The motif is situated on a ground line.


By date unknown: Alexander Cochrane Collection; gift of Alexander Cochrane to MFA, August 1, 1918

Credit Line

Gift of Alexander Cochrane