c. 475 BC
Bronze with silver inlays
Overall: 11.5 x 9 cm (4 1/2 x 3 9/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1967.204
This elaborate siren served a practical function, connecting a separately made handle and mirror, now lost.
This is a bronze of exceptional quality. When complete, it had a cylindrical handle, probably of painted ivory. The reflecting disk was probably of silver, as are the inlays. The intact mirror was obviously an object of great luxury. Sirens (part bird and part woman) were sea-songstresses whose captivating voices drew sailors off course to their deaths. Sirens also accompanied the dead on their voyage to the underworld. The idea was probably imported from Egypt where human-headed ba birds embodied a deceased person's spirit.
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