Material: Sardonyx Shell, 9k gold tested.
Size: 1 7/8" by 1 1/2" only cameo is 1 3/8" by 1".
Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy.
Conditions: Shell is in mint conditions. There are some small dents to the inside back of the frame, some traces of soldering on the back.
This is a Museum Quality cameo of Medusa. This cameo is very finely carved, as can be seen looking at the pictures. Her face is pretty and the facial features are perfect. Her eye is closed like she was sleeping and instead, from her face expression, a strong suffering can be clearly seen, suffering for her lost life since she decapitated by Perseus who offered the head to Athena who put it on her armour. This cameo is really a wonderful piece, superbly carved. The frame is in Etruscan revival style, a lovely frame for a more than lovely cameo, not to be missed.
NOTE: Cameo has been not yet cleaned.
A bit of history:
Medusa is a character of Greek's mythology, she was one of three Gorgons, the only one that was mortal. Poseidon fell in love with Medusa and one night he took her in a temple consecrated to Athena to consummate their love. Athena offended, transformed Medusa's hair into snakes and again everyone that had looked Medusa's eyes would have been petrified. Medusa was killed by Perseus who cut her head looking at her through a bright shield received from Athena. From Medusa's body came out Pegasus, the mythic winged horse, and Crisaore generated with the union with Poseidon. For this reason Medusa's head was given by Perseus to Athena who put it in the center of her aegis. Aegis used by Athena, is a fringed armour or a shield