The J. Paul Getty Museum

Prometopidion

Object Details

Title:

Prometopidion

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Greek (South Italian)

Place:

South Italy (Place Created)

Date:

about 480 B.C.

Medium:

Bronze, amber, ivory

Object Number:

83.AC.7.1

Dimensions:

45 × 17.2 cm (17 11/16 × 6 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

A warrior's head decorates the upper portion of this prometopidion, a piece of armor that protected a horse's forehead. The warrior's eyes are inlaid with ivory and amber; the elaborate Chalcidian helmet he wears has cheek pieces in the form of rams' heads. The lower portion of the armor is decorated with the head of the monstrous Gorgon. The warrior and Gorgon, standard decoration for prometopidia, were subjects that correlated with the armor's function. The image of the warrior symbolized the armor's power to protect its wearer, and the head of the Gorgon warded off evil and danger.

The small holes running around the edge of the prometopidion allowed a leather backing to be sewn onto the bronze for cushioning; the larger holes were for attachment to the bridle.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1983

Antike Kunst Palladion (Basel, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Bibliography
Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1983." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), p. 239, no. 33.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 110.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 108.