Carved amber bow of a fibula (safety pin)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 170

Couple reclining on a couch, with attendant and bird

This work ranks as the most complex carved amber surviving from ancient Italy. Preserved at its base are holes containing traces of an iron pin, indicating that the original object was a fibula. The representation shows a woman and man reclining on a couch. The woman wears a pointed hat, long cloak, and pointed shoes. In her right hand, she holds the base of a small vase, and the fingers of her left touch the mouth of the vase. Her companion is a young, beardless man with a round face. The back view shows his long hair, the modulated folds of his overgarment, and his shoes on the ground. A bird nestles at the shoulders of the couple, and a small attendant stands at their feet.

The Morgan Amber was reputedly found at Falconara in Picene territory. The iconography of the reclining couple and ceremonial banquet spread westward from the Ancient Near East through Greece. While numerous details are Etruscan, it is impossible to identify where the artist came from and whether the figures are mortal or divine.

#1086. Carved amber bow of a fibula (safety pin)

Carved amber bow of a fibula (safety pin), Amber, Etruscan

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