Pair of earrings with female heads

mid–5th century BCE
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General Description

The pure early classical features of the female heads on these Etruscan earrings relate to far larger works in stone, specifically recalling the Severe style (480 and 450 BCE) sculptures at Olympia. Some of the richness of Archaic ornamentation is still evident in the masses of heavy hair indicated by cross-hatching, in the diadem of hollow globules, and in the minute necklace and rosette earrings worn by the figures. The hollow, curved tube that forms each earring has a beaded ring at the end. Whether the women are maenads or deities, they have a grave nobility and the remote calm of classical art. Like some of the late korai sculptures in the Acropolis Museum in Athens, the figures represent the artistic moment when the more decorative style of Archaic art was giving way to the grand idealizations of the Classical age. This is one of several examples in the museum's jewelry collection that show how Etruscan goldsmiths interpreted Greek motifs to their own taste.

Adapted from

  • Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 36; 126.

  • Anne R. Bromberg, and Karl Kilinski II, Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996), 113.

  • Anne Bromberg, "Pair of tubular earrings with female heads," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press, 1997), 29.

Fun Facts

  • Jewelry was far more than merely ornament to the Etruscans; it was often close to being a magic charm or amulet and implied the protection of the gods.