Poseidon and Tyro

Poseidon and Tyro

Quite an extraordinary figural pendant, the likes of which I have not seen before. The carving is most likely Dieppe workmanship and the 18 carat gold cannetille and enamel mount is probably Palais Royal, circa 1820 . The pendant depicts the relatively obscure Greek myth of Poseidon and Tyro. Tyro was the daughter of Salmoneus and wife of Cretheus.  Tyro married Cretheus but fell in love with Enipeos, a river god, who spurned her. One day, Poseidon, having lusted after Tyro for some time, metamorphosed into the form of Enipeos and seduced her. The result of their union was twin sons, Pelias and Neleus.

Homer, Odyssey 11. 236  
The first [ghost] that I [Odysseus in Hades] saw was high-born Tyro, daughter of great Salmoneos and wife of Kretheus son of Aiolos, such was her twofold boast. She fell in love with the river-god Enipeos, whose waters are the most beautiful of any that flow on earth and she haunted his beguiling streams. But in place of Enipeos, and in his likeness, there came the god Poseidon who sustains and shakes the earth. He lay with her at the mouth of the eddying river and a surging wave, mountain-high, curled over them and concealed the god and the mortal girl. And when the god had finished the work of love, he uttered these words with her hand in his : ‘Girl, be happy in this our love.  I would have you know that I am the Shaker of the Earth, Poseidon.’

Here Tyro stands before Poseidon with a ewer. Poseidon, in the guise of Enipeos, is a classic river god –  depicted reclining, bearded, foreleg provocatively forward, robed with bared chest and holding the attribute of a hydria cascading water, his trident in the background. The three dimensional micro carving is extraordinarily detailed. The pendant is 3 inches in length, 1.5 inches wide and has survived in remarkably intact condition.

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