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Home > Auctions > 22nd February 2022 > Roman Lectus Medius Swan Attachment Pair

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LOT 0085

GBP (£) 40,000 - 60,000
EUR (€) 48,010 - 72,020
USD ($) 54,460 - 81,690

Opening Bid
£36,000 (EUR 43,212; USD 49,011) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Roman Lectus Medius Swan Attachment Pair

1st-2nd century AD

A substantial pair of bronze fulcra, each formed as an elegant swan head with intricately-incised striations for feathers, head turned nearly 180 degrees, heavily lidded ovoid eyes, large beak tapering to a narrow, rounded point above the incised mouth. 2.5 kg total, 18cm high including stand each (7"). Fine condition. [2]

Private collection, New York, USA, 1980s.
Pierre Bergé & Associés, 1 June 2012, lot 279.
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.11032-183987.

See Daremberg, C.V. & Saglio, E. (eds.), Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, Paris, 1873-1917.

Fulcra were attachments placed on fulcrums, or curved headboards of reclining dinner beds (lectus or kline) on which Greek, Etruscans and Romans sat during banquets. Propertius in his elegies (IV,7) mentions the bed upon which lovers lay after they had eaten: '…I dreamt last night of Cynthia, dead and buried to blaring funeral trumpets. Returned, she leaned over the bed (fulcro) in which I lay asleep as soundly as back in those nights of love’s utter exhaustion…' Swans had connotations of luxury and sexual desire. They were connected with the legend of Leda, Queen of Sparta, seduced by Zeus who transformed himself into a swan. From this the divine twins, Kastor and Pollux, and Helen of Troy were born.