The J. Paul Getty Museum

Pendant in the Form of a Siren

Object Details


Pendant in the Form of a Siren






Greece (Place Created)


725–700 B.C.



Object Number:



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 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.

- 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.

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