The J. Paul Getty Museum

Grave Stele of Myttion

Object Details


Grave Stele of Myttion




Greek (Attic)


Attica, Greece (Place Created)


about 400 B.C.


Marble with polychromy

Object Number:



71.1 × 24.1 × 8.9 cm (28 × 9 1/2 × 3 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

The young woman shown on this stele or grave monument represents the deceased. Faint traces of a Greek inscription painted above the woman’s head preserve her name, Myttion. Her long hair is brushed back from her face and fashioned into a braid wrapped around her head. She wears an unusual garment called a kandys, a long-sleeved knee-length coat inspired by Persian clothing. This style was adopted by Athenian women at the end of the 5th century B.C. and worn at religious ceremonies. The bird that Myttion holds may have been a pet or was perhaps an offering to the gods. Such a depiction of the deceased either alone or with family members was typical for grave markers of the Classical period (about 480–323 B.C.). The traces of pigment that have survived on this stele, especially the red color on Myttion's shoes, serve as a reminder that most Greek sculpture was originally painted.

by 1817 - 1841

Thomas Bruce, 7th earl of Elgin, 1766 - 1841 (Broomhall, Scotland), by inheritance to his son, James Bruce, 1841.

1841 - 1863

James Bruce, 8th earl of Elgin, 1811 - 1863 (Broomhall, Scotland), by inheritance to his son, Victor Bruce, 1863.

1863 - 1917

Victor Bruce, 9th earl of Elgin, 1849 - 1917 (Broomhall, Scotland), by inheritance to his son, Edward Bruce, 1917.

1917 - 1952

Edward Bruce, 10th earl of Elgin, 1881 - 1968 (Broomhall, Scotland), sold through Spink & Son, Ltd. (London, England) to J. Paul Getty, 1952.

1952 - 1976

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1976 - 1978

Estate of J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, distributed to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

Greek Art in Private Collections of Southern California (November 19 to December 17, 1963)
  • University Art Museum, University of California at Santa Barbara, November 19 to December 17, 1963
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999

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