The Severed Head of Medusa
The hand of this Gorgon is carved entirely in verdant malachite, a proto-historic copper ore that emits poisonous dust during carving. Fourteen of the world's most venomous snakes - rendered in exquisite detail - crown the Gorgon's petrified features. The African rock python, horned viper and coral snake are all represented. In the early Roman Empire, exotic snakes were sometimes awarded as tribute; in 20 BCE, the emperor Augustus was gifted a giant venomous reptile from an Indian ambassador.