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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Roman Bust of God Bacchus

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LOT 0131

GBP (£) 1,200 - 1,700
EUR (€) 1,430 - 2,030
USD ($) 1,460 - 2,070

Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £21 (+bp*)

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Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £21

A substantial hollow-formed ornament depicting the bust of Bacchus (Greek Dionysus) with clean-shaven face, wearing a wreath of ivy leaves, bunches of grapes in his hair, draped deer skin tied in a knot on his right shoulder, hooves hanging down; rectangular opening in base, circular opening in crown for fixture possibly to a chariot; accompanied by a custom-made display stand. 4 in. (4 3/4 in.) (323 grams, 99mm (356 grams total, 12 cm including stand)). [No Reserve]

Private collection since the 1970s.
Property of an Austrian gentleman.
Accompanied by an archaeological report by Dr. Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10417-171002.

See Boucher, S., Inventaire des Collections Publiques Françaises - 17 Vienne: Bronzes Antiques, Paris, 1971; Ratković, D., 'Wagon and Harness Bronzes from the Roman Collection of the National Museum in Belgrade' in Thiasos, Festschrift fur Erwin Pochmarski zum 65. Geburtstag, Wien, 2008, pp.793-815, figs.3-7-8, for similar items; compare also with decorated chariot fittings in Menzel, H., Die römischen Bronzen aus Deutschland III, Mainz am Rhein, 1986, pp.164-177, nn.458-485, especially pls.142-144, for those with the bust of gods; for another possible bust of Bacchus decoration of chariot see Humer, F., Kremer, G., Pollhammer, E., Pülz A., AD 313 Von Carnuntum zum Christentum, Bad Voslau, 2014, n.84.

Grave finds of various types, be they travelling carriages, chariots, or two or four wheeled wagons, include remains of wood, structural parts such as wheels, as well as metal parts of joints, wagon fittings and harnesses. Bronze figurative decorative elements on funerary wagons are very often of Dionysiac character and related to Dionysiac mysteries. Hence, it has been customary for scholars to interpret such decorative elements as associated exclusively with the cult of Dionysus. This type of mount was probably used as a bridle holder, placed near the driver’s seat on the wagon platform, or as a central decoration on the rear of the wagon.