The J. Paul Getty Museum

Pendant in the Form of a Siren

Object Details

Title:

Pendant in the Form of a Siren

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Greek

Place:

Greece (Place Created)

Date:

725–700 B.C.

Medium:

Bronze

Object Number:

96.AC.72

Dimensions:

6.9 × 6 × 1.4 cm (2 11/16 × 2 3/8 × 9/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Object Description

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, 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 bronze figurines designed for suspension have been found in sanctuaries as offerings to the gods; scholars have suggested that these offerings might have hung from the trees in outdoor shrines. Some, however, have been found inside graves, suggesting that they might originally have served as dress ornaments or pendants on necklaces and only later dedicated to the gods along with other items of jewelry. Another group of scholars argues that the pendants had different purposes in different regions: the figures served primarily as dedications to the gods in southern Greece and as funerary objects in northern Greece.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1989

McAlpine Ancient Art (Hampshire, England), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1989.

1989 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
Remembering Antiquity: The Ancient World Through Medieval Eyes (January 24 to May 28, 2017)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 24 to May 28, 2017
Bibliography