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Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum

Faya Causey

This catalogue presents a group of remarkable amber carvings from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection—the second largest body of this material in the United States and one of the most important in the world. The fifty-six Etruscan, Greek, and Italic carved ambers date from around 650 to 300 BCE

Offering a full description of each piece, including typology, style, chronology, provenance, condition, and iconography, the catalogue is preceded by a general introduction to ancient amber. Through exquisite visual examples and vivid excerpts from 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.

This open-access catalogue is available for free online and in multiple formats for download, including PDF, MOBI/Kindle, and EPUB. For readers who wish to have a bound reference copy, this paperback edition has been made available for sale. 

“An exemplary publication. . . . Well-researched and attractively written. . . . This publication is an example for other institutions which hold similar objects to follow.”
—Paweł Gołyźniak, Jewellery Studies 

306 pages
8 1/2 x 11 inches
124 color illustrations, 10 charts
ISBN 978-1-60606-634-8

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum