Ancient Roman Silver Bull Statuette


A small Ancient Roman bull statuette cast from silver standing on all four legs. The stylised animal is finely modelled with the anatomical features carefully rendered including the pointed horns, large, circular eyes and the large hump on its back. Incisions have been made across the body to display the direction of the hair.

Please check measurements

Date: Circa 1st-4th century AD
Provenance: ‘The Ancient Menagerie Collection’ formerly the property of a Cambridgeshire lady, collected since the 1990s and acquired from auctions and dealers throughout Europe and the USA, now ex London collection.
Condition: Very fine condition. Minor encrustation to the surface.


SKU: LD-725 Category: Tag:

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.

Weight 11 g
Dimensions L 2.3 x H 1.5 cm



You may also like…