​Hairnet with Medallion

​Hairnet with Medallion


The luxurious nature of this gold hairnet, or kekryphalos, which would have been owned by a woman of high status, attests to the wealth of the Greek Hellenistic world. A substantial amount of hair would have been required to secure this complex and expensive accessory at the back of the head. It can be compared to the hairnet worn by Arethusa on the Syracusan coin (no. 18). Containment defines the purpose of this gold object, and yet its central medallion shows a maenad (follower of Dionysos, god of wine), who personifies abandon. Even her hair seems to escape the confines of a grape vine wreath.

Hairnets of this type have been associated with Ptolemaic Egypt, where the ruling families included queens such as Berenike II (no. 32) and Cleopatra VII, who was famous for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.


Work Date:
ca. 200–150 BCE
Credit Line:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift of Norbert Schimmel, 1987 (1987.220)