Unknown220 - 100 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Very few gold hairnets have survived from antiquity. This example, made to be worn over a bun at the back of a head, is remarkable for the quality and degree of its elaboration. The hairnet consists of four elements: the medallion, the tassels and chains, the net, and the circular base. The medallion bears a bust of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, accompanied by her son Eros and surrounded by bands of filigree. Tassels on long chains hang from the medallion and clasp. The net itself consists of bands of gold chains sheathed in gold spool beads, a typical Hellenistic design, linked by crossed chains decorated with Dionysiac masks. The circular base is embellished with a large Herakles knot, floral tendrils, ivy leaves, and berries. Certain elements of the hairnet's decoration seem to have had a close connection to the Ptolemies, the ruling family of Hellenistic Egypt. Aphrodite was considered the divine equivalent of many Ptolemaic queens, and the woman on this hairnet bears a resemblance to portraits of Queen Arsinoe III. The Ptolemies also considered Dionysos and Herakles to be their divine ancestors. Although such associations do not necessarily mean that this jewelry was made for the royal family, they point to Ptolemaic Egypt as the hairnet's country of origin.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Hairnet
  • Date Created: 220 - 100 B.C.
  • Location Created: Alexandria, Egypt
  • Physical Dimensions: w7.9 x h21.6 x d7.6 cm
  • Type: Hair net
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=24204
  • Medium: "Gold, garnet, and glass paste"
  • artist: Unknown
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Satyrs, Aphrodite, Dionysos, Eros, Arsinoe III


Translate with Google