Ancient Roman Silver Bull Statuette


An Ancient Roman silver figurine of a bull standing on a flat rectangular base. The animal is finely modelled with the anatomical details rendered naturalistically. This includes the protruding ears, horns which tower above the head, a large hump on its back, and a tail pointing down in between the hind legs. Slight indentations have been applied to represent the eyes.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd 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. Slight earthly encrustations to the surface.


SKU: CY-101 Category: Tags: ,

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 16.18 g
Dimensions L 2.6 x W 1.1 x H 2.2 cm



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