Appliques of this type refers to a specific group of gilded terracotta appliques modelled in openwork technique in high relief, popular in the area of Tarentum. Such appliques, possibly used to decorate funerary furniture and sarcophagi, were shaped as winged griffins, panthers, lions, stags, and horses. Sometimes the animals were arranged in groups depicting hunting scenes or in company with deities. Tarentum, modern days Taranto, was one of the largest Greek colonies in South Italy, mythically founded by Taras. In Greek mythology the hero Taras was shipwrecked and his father Poseidon, from preventing him to drown, sent him a dolphin, which Taras rode to traverse the sea. Once on shore, Taras founded a new city, Tarentum, which he named after him.
Two Tarentine Gilded Terracotta Appliques
A finely rendered group of two terracotta appliques modelled in openwork technique in high relief, in the shape of a panther and a lion. Both felines are showed in profile, standing on a rocky ground line, leaning forward with one front leg raised. Much attention is given towards the naturalistic rendering of anatomical features, such as the muscular, tense body and the mane. Each applique features a pierced hole for suspension or attachment, and a flat, unworked reverse. Much of the original gilding is visible trough the animals’ body. The appliques are dated between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, and were produced in Tarentum, one of the Greek colonies in Magna Graecia.
Provenance: From the Ingrid McAlpine collection, 1939-2018, London and Epsom.
Condition: Professionally repaired, traces of the original gilding visible. The appliques are mounted on a custom made-stand, ideal for display.