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Home > Auctions > 5th December 2023 > Roman Bronze Silenus Figurine

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LOT 0147

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,470 - 4,620
USD ($) 3,810 - 5,080

Opening Bid
£1,400 (EUR 1,618; USD 1,777) (‡+bp*)

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Bids: 0
2 1/2 in. (2 3/4 in.) (104 grams, 65 mm high (127 grams total, 71 mm high including stand)).

Standing nude with vine-leaf wreath on the brow, muscular physique, dressed beard and stern facial expression, holding a bunch of grapes in the left hand; accompanied by a custom-made display stand.

Private Swiss collection, acquired 2001.

This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no.11621-199008.

Cf. similar item in the British Museum, London, under accession number 1824,0411.6.

Silenus was closely associated with the Dionysian cult. He was a deity associated with the forest, wine, drunkenness, the treading-dance of the wine press as an orgiastic ritual. While intoxicated, Silenus was believed to possess the power of prophecy. He helped raise the god Dionysus, son of Zeus, after he was entrusted to him by Hermes. Once, while travelling with Dionysus through Phrygia, Silenus was captured by King Midas who treated his captive hospitably. As a reward, Dionysus granted the king his famous 'golden touch'. The sacred animal of Silenus is the donkey, the mode of transport he often used according to Greek mythology.