Art/ Collection/ Art Object


late 16th–early 17th century
Gold, enamel, pearls, emeralds
Overall: 3 3/4 × 1 15/16 × 7/8 in. (9.5 × 4.9 × 2.2 cm)
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
The Lesley and Emma Sheafer Collection, Bequest of Emma A. Sheafer, 1973
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 535
Pendants in the form of living creatures, both real and fantastic, start to appear in Spain in large numbers in the latter part of the sixteenth century. Although highly embellished with precious gems, most reflect the interest of Spanish goldsmiths in the lifelike portrayal of the underlying natural form. Dolphins and other sea creatures seem to have been particularly popular as talismans, perhaps reflecting the dangers inherent in the maritime enterprises so central to the exploitation of Spain's overseas empire — the source of the gold and emeralds used to produce this fish.
Lesley and Emma Sheafer , New York (until 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
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