The J. Paul Getty Museum

Snake Bracelet

Object Details

Title:

Snake Bracelet

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Romano-Egyptian

Place:

Egypt (Place Created)

Date:

100 B.C.–A.D. 100

Medium:

Gold, glass

Object Number:

84.AM.849

Dimensions:

7.2 cm (2 13/16 in.)

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Object Description

Spiral bracelets in the form of snakes were very popular in the Hellenistic period. This type of bracelet was worn coiled around the wearer's arm, the continuation of a fashion known earlier in the Classical period. Such slip-on bracelets were worn in pairs on the wrists or the upper arms (compare, for example those worn by the woman on this grave relief).

On this single spiral example, the snake's head turns sharply from the body as if striking, and the inlaid glass eyes add to the lively effect. The goldsmith carefully recreated the naturalism of a snake in the sinuous motion of the looped tail and the texture of the scales on the head and upper body.

In the Hellenistic period, gold made available by new territorial conquests flooded the Greek world. Combined with social and economic changes that created a wealthy clientele with a taste for luxury, this availability led to an immense outpouring of gold jewelry to meet the demand.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1984

Galerie Nefer (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Hellenistic Art from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 25 to August 15, 2001)
  • Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, California State University, San Bernardino, January 25 to August 15, 2001
Bibliography