Handcrafted in silver-plated bronze using the lost-wax casting technique, this pendant was inspired by snakes which appear in many forms throughout the Museum's collections. Created by California artist Jivita Harris-Casey exclusively for the J. Paul Getty Museum. Chain is sterling silver and measures 16" long with silver-plated bronze leaf motif hook closure.
In ancient times, animals and mythological creatures were often painted on ceramic vessels, fashioned into jewelry, and carved on sculptures. The snake is a recurring motif in art and mythology and often symbolizes female power, fertility, wisdom, rebirth, and rain.
In Greek mythology, the Gorgon Medusa had hair composed of writhing snakes. Battling the Hydra, a seven-headed serpent, was the second labor given to Hercules. Aesculapius, the son of the god Apollo, was a famous healer thought to have had the ability to heal the dead. He carried a knotted wooden staff around which a serpent was coiled--a symbol used to this day to represent the medical profession, health, and wisdom.