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Roman Bronze Bust of Bacchus - X.0146
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 2 nd Century AD to 3 rd Century AD
Dimensions: 4.875" (12.4cm) high
Collection: Classical
Style: Roman
Medium: Bronze

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Bacchus (known to the Greeks as Dionysus) was the god of the vine, of wine and mystic ecstasy. His cult was prolific throughout the Mediterranean, and may have been known as far as India since it was believed he traveled to that distant country. His worship was manifested in tumultuous processions in which the spirits of earth and of fecundity appeared, their likenesses evoked by masks. This hollow cast bronze bust depicts Bacchus with a mantle draped around his shoulders. A wreath composed of vine leaves with clusters of grapes crowns his head; his hair parted down the middle and pulled back into a low chignon. His wide eyes are slightly recessed with deep pupils. His straight mouth with fleshy lip is closed. Are we to believe that he is slightly inebriated? Perhaps he is in a state of mystical ecstasy brought about from his consumption of sacred libations? Such a small bust may have functioned as a furniture appliqué, or may have stood by itself in a small shrine in the house of one of his followers as an emblem of personal devotion. - (X.0146)

 

 

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