Measurements: 4.8 cm – length, 4.7 cm – width (without the stand)


Description: A very fine Roman bronze applique of Bacchus depicted in his older, bearded incarnation. The applique features silvered pierced eyes that give liveliness to the face and a pierced open mouth, which suggests that this is a depiction of a theatre mask used in tragedies. Theatre masks were often a motif adorning furniture ends. Bacchus’ beard is modelled into long strands and he is wearing ivy leaves and berries in his hair. He also has the horns of the bull (the so-called tauromorphic properties which refer to one of his myths). Back is unworked. Mounted on a custom-made stand.


Bacchus was conscripted into the official Roman pantheon as an aspect of Liber, and his festival was inserted into the Liberalia. In Roman culture, Liber, Bacchus and Dionysus became virtually interchangeable equivalents. A mystery cult to Bacchus was brought to Rome from the Greek culture of southern Italy or by way of Greek-influenced Etruria. It was established c.200 BC in the Aventine grove.


Period: 1st – 2nd cent. AD


Reference: London private collection.


Condition: Very fine, some strands of beard broken off, patina on the surface and the back.


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