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Pendant in the Form of a Siren Playing a Lyre

This exquisite sculpture is so visually powerful that it is difficult to imagine that it was created simply as an earring or necklace pendant. It is an example of the remarkable skill developed by ancient goldsmiths. The siren, part bird and part woman, was a fabulous creature endowed with lethal powers. In the story of Odysseus, sirens entice sailors to jump to their death in the sea with their irresistible song. In Hellenistic art, a number of centuries after Homer, the role of sirens became more positive and they represented the charm of music.

Greek
Pendant in the Form of a Siren Playing a Lyre
Hellenistic period, ca. 325–275 BC
Gold
H. 1.4 in. (3.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Burton Y. Berry Collection, 71.50.1