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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pendant in the form of a swan

16th century
Northern European
Gold, partly enameled; pearls
Overall (with chain): 2 1/2 × 1 3/8 × 13/16 in. (6.4 × 3.5 × 2.1 cm)
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 521
The size of this jewel and related ones (see also 17.190.892; 32.100.298; 32.100.306; and 41.100.26) is such that only the closest viewer could appreciate their full beauty and dexterous execution; they represent the finest craftsmanship for the wealthiest patrons. Each combines gold with natural treasures, such as pearls and gemstones. Bulbous baroque pearls cleverly suggest the fluffy down of a swan’s underbelly or a cloudy mass supporting the Crucifixion. Tiny figures are enameled in the round. Melding the secular and the sacred, these jewels were made to be worn: pinned to garments or hanging close to their owners’ skin. The animals might be heraldic devices; the swan, for example, could symbolize the Society of the Virgin Mary, called the Order of the Swan, which was founded in mid-fifteenth-century Brandenburg in Germany.

[Elizabeth Cleland, 2017]
Charles Mannheim (by 1898–before 1910) ; J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
Related Objects

The Crucifixion

Date: 16th century Medium: Gold, partly enameled, set with Baroque pearl Accession: 17.190.892 On view in:Gallery 521

Pendant with a Triton Riding a Unicorn-like Sea Creature

Artist: Reinhold Vasters (German, Erkelenz 1827–1909 Aachen) Date: ca. 1870–95 Medium: Baroque pearl mounted with enameled gold set with pearls, emeralds and rubies and with pendent pearls Accession: 1982.60.382 On view in:Gallery 542

Pendant in the form of a ferret

Date: 16th century Medium: Gold, partly enameled, set with rubies and diamonds; pearls Accession: 41.100.26 On view in:Gallery 521


Date: 16th century Medium: Gold, partly enameled, set with diamonds and emeralds; pearls Accession: 32.100.298 On view in:Gallery 521


Date: 16th century Medium: Rock crystal, enameled gold, pearl Accession: 17.190.898 On view in:Gallery 535