Bronze or silver statuettes were popular across the Roman Empire, usually modelled in the shape of gods, goddesses and animals. Such statuettes could have been part of private households or placed in temples as votive offerings. Interestingly, during the Roman Empire, the Asia Minor region was famous for its cast metal sculptures.
Bulls were a common depiction in Roman art. They were, like other Classical cultures, a symbol of power and fertility. They were also amongst the animals most frequently slaughtered as a sacrificial victim. This practise was associated from the 2nd century AD to the great Mother goddess, to protect the people and the State. Within mythology, the bull was also heavily associated with the mystic cult of Mithras. The imagery of a bull being slaughtered by Mithras, known as a ‘tauroctony’, was synonymous with the cult’s identity.
For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.