Bulla with Daedalus and Icarus

Etruscan5th century BC (Classical)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

A "bulla" is a hollow pendant, that could hold perfume or a charm. Found inside this one was "labdanum," a substance used in perfume. Depicted are the mythical craftsman Daedalus and his son, Icarus (on the back). To escape captivity, Daedalus fabricated wings for himself and his son, but Icarus flew too close to the sun, and when the heat melted the wax that held his wings together, he fell to his death.


  • Title: Bulla with Daedalus and Icarus
  • Date Created: 5th century BC (Classical)
  • Physical Dimensions: w2.55 x h4.05 x d2.6 cm
  • Type: pendants
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1930, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: gold
  • Provenance: Said to be from Comacchio, near Ferrara; Sangiorgi [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1930, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: Comacchio (in present-day Italy) (?)
  • Inscriptions: [Transcription] In retrograde Etruscan: Vikare (and) Taitle; [Translation] Icarus (and) Daedalus
  • ExhibitionHistory: Flight, Fantasy, Faith, Fact. Dayton Art Institute, Dayton. 1953-1954; Jewelry - Ancient to Modern. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979-1980; Gold Jewelry: Craft, Style, and Meaning from Mycenae to Constantinopolis. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. 1983; Objects of Adornment: Five Thousand Years of Jewelry from the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota. 1984-1987; Jewelry from the Walters Art Museum and the Zucker Family Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987; Spina: Storia di una Citta tra Greci ed Etruschi. Castello Estense, Ferrara, Ferrara. 1993-1994
  • Artist: Etruscan

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