Unknown18th - 19th century

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Two overlapping heads decorate this cameo. The background head is a bearded man, and the head in the foreground may also be male. With an unusually deep incision parting his hair, the man in the foreground wears something that resembles a crown with projecting spikes.

The identity of the figures is unknown. The rugged features of the background head resemble a typical depiction of the hero Hercules, but there are no further clues. The headpiece worn by the foreground figure recalls the spiky crown worn by Roman emperors, but the head does not readily match any known portrait. Moreover, the crown is placed too far back on the head to be consistent with other depictions of Roman emperors. These problematic details are best explained by concluding that the gem is not ancient, but is instead a post-antique imitation of a Roman gem.

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  • Title: Cameo
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 18th - 19th century
  • Location Created: Europe
  • Physical Dimensions: 4 x 4 cm (1 9/16 x 1 9/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Unidentified layered gemstone
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Bequest of Eli Djeddah
  • Object Type: Gem
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 83.AL.257.28
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Modern
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Eli Djeddah
  • Classification: Jewelry