Roman Bronze Handle with Cupid and Theatre Mask

£ 1,700.00

An Ancient Roman T-shaped bronze strap handle with a crescent rim and curved, volute shank. The shank extends into a thumb-pad featuring the depiction of Cupid. The Roman god of love is here portrayed nude, with his wings upraised, in contrapposto pose, standing on his advanced foot and facing right. He is shown holding on his left hand a theatre mask, while his right hand rests on his hip. The bronze displays a beautiful olive-green patina to the surface. This handle most likely came from a wine flask.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd Century AD
Condition: Fine, with olive green patina to the surface. The artefact is mounted on a custom made stand, ideal for display. The item has been professionally restored.
Product Code: RES-72
Category: Tags: , ,

Scenes depicting putti or cupids wearing or holding theatre masks, were a popular subject in Ancient Roman art of this period, usually carved on sarcophagi and friezes in bass-reliefs.  This type of representation usually had a comic and playful meaning. Masks were very important to the pantomime genre. The masks in the plays were often based on the characters they were representing but in caricature form and as a very exaggerated version. Comedic masks were known for their giant smiles. Masked male actors used to play female roles.

To discover more about Eros’ iconography in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Eros’ Iconography in Classical Times.

Dimensions H 17 cm
Roman Mythology

Cupid

Metal

Bronze

Region

Southern Europe

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