McAlpine Ancient Art (Hampshire, England), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1989.
Not currently on view
Pendant in the Form of a Siren
Greece (Place Created)
6.9 × 6 × 1.4 cm (2 11/16 × 2 3/8 × 9/16 in.)
Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman
Tilting her head back as if to sing, this siren may be exercising her power to lure men to their deaths with her song. One of the earliest surviving representations of the mythological creature in Greek art, she displays the usual means of depicting sirens with a woman's head on a bird's body. The ring on her back indicates that this figure was meant to be suspended, probably as a pendant.
The pendant's precise function is unclear. Many such objects have been found in sanctuaries as offerings to the gods and scholars have suggested that they might have hung from the trees in outdoor shrines as offerings. Some have also been found inside graves, and might originally have served as dress ornaments or pendants on necklaces that were only later dedicated to the gods along with other items of jewelry. Others argue that the pendants had different purposes in different regions: serving primarily as dedications to the gods in southern Greece and as funerary objects in the north.
True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), p. 47, cat. no. 9.
"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 63.