Cameo set into a ring

Unknowngem 1st century; ring modern

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A woman and a girl, following one another, decorate this cameo. The woman places her right hand on the girl's shoulder, apparently encouraging her to step forward; with her left hand, the woman seems to indicate where the child should go. The girl moves as if she were walking in a procession; she carries a pitcher in her right hand and a lighted torch in her left. Traces of gold gilding appear on both figures.

This charming representation has an intimate, domestic quality, and creates the impression that a particular incident from daily life is being depicted. Several elements suggest a religious occasion: the scene appears to take place at night, the girl appears about to take her place in a procession, and her pitcher could be used in a ceremonial libation. However, the clues are too few to allow certainty about the meaning of the image.

The gold ring into which this cameo is set is modern.

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  • Title: Cameo set into a ring
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: gem 1st century; ring modern
  • Location Created: Roman Empire
  • Physical Dimensions: 2.1 cm (13/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Sardonyx in a modern gold ring
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Gem
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 2001.28.10
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 207, Women and Children in Antiquity
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Roman
  • Classification: Jewelry