A ROMAN BRONZE GRIFFIN PROTOME
Please refer to our stock # Z17 when inquiring.
c. 2nd-3rd Century AD
Made of cast bronze this piece is a stylized representation of one of the most enduring mythological creatures in human history. Thickly cast, the head terminates in a sharply hooked, open beak behind which sit two small eyes on either side of the head. The ears are slightly retracted and the mane is depicted by a single raised section on the back of the neck. A hole is present in the top of the head and on the interior of the lower mandible; these would have originally held additional features made of other metals, most likely a tongue and a topknot in either silver or copper.
In excellent and original condition with natural patina.
Dimensions: 1.39 x 1.41 inches (35.35 x 36 mm); Weight: 44g
Worldwide Shipping and Certificate of Authenticity Included in Price.
Export Approval from the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Griffins have been capturing the imagination of human beings for millennia and continue to do so even today. Variably a monster and a protector, the griffin originated in the Near East and was soon disseminated to the western world via Cyprus and Greece. So pervasive is the imagery that it can be found in every medium in almost every culture throughout history. While this example is clearly an item of Roman manufacture, stylistically it suggests a heavy influence from the Parthians or similar culture adding further elements of the Near East to this classical bronze.
As a protome this head would have originally been attached to a larger bronze item, possibly a cauldron.