Amber has fascinated mankind since the Paleolithic era. Through exquisite visual examples and vivid classical texts, this book examines the myths and legends woven around amber—its employment in magic and medicine, its transport and carving, and its incorporation into jewelry, amulets, and other objects of prestige. Showcased are a group of remarkable amber carvings at the J. Paul Getty Museum and masterpieces from other collections.
Amber is a tree resin that has metamorphosed over millions of years into a hard, transparent, plastic-like polymer. In the ancient world it was treasured in its raw state, made into ornaments, sewn onto clothing, used to perfume oils and creams, ground into medicines, and burned as incense. It was dedicated to the gods and buried with the wealthy and powerful. Full of fascinating facts and stories, this book brings to life one of the world's most luminous substances.
Faya Causey is the head of the academic programs department at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. She has lectured and published on a variety of subjects, but primarily on amber, antiquity, and contemporary artists and architects whose work has ancient aspects. She is also the author of Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum, an online scholarly catalogue.
“Through exquisite examples and classical texts, this book examines the myths and legends woven around amber—its employment in magic and medicine, its transport and carving, and its incorporation into jewelry, amulets, and other objects of prestige."
—Biblical Archaeology Review
6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
63 color illustrations
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum