Pendant in the form of a bull's head

Late Classical Period
400–330 B.C.


Length (of plate): 3.5 cm (1 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)


Jewelry, The Ancient World



A pendant in the shape of the head of a bull. Formed from pale sheet gold with separate gold sheet ears and horns. The backside of the neck is closed by a flat sheet of gold projecting beyond the neck in ovolos outlined in beaded wire. There is a ring attached at back of neck. The pendant is intact; there is a small v-shaped cut on the plate closing the neck.

The bull is a common form in the 5th and 4th centuries BC worn with string of beads or other pendants or in isolation as here. Associated with various deities and heroes, the bull was important to Classical Greek religion and myth. Its role as a jewelry ornament is less clear, perhaps apotropaic (to ward away harm).


By date unknown: with Dr. Hugo Weissmann, 96 Charles Street, Boston (said to have been found near Izmir [Smyrna]); April 7, 1958: purchased by MFA from Dr. Hugo Weissmann for $ 1,500.00

Credit Line

John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund