Roman Bronze Bull Statuette


A finely modelled Roman bronze statuette of a bull, featuring a thick neck and notched hooves. The animal is depicted standing with its left foreleg raised and facing forward. A long tail loops over the back with its end resting on the body’s left side. Two small horns emerge on top of the bovine’s head, above its pert ears. The anatomical features have been naturalistically rendered through delicate incisions outlining the small, almond-shaped eyes, flaring nostrils, and curling mane. There is a perforation to the back of the bull’s head, possibly used for suspension or mounting in corporation with the tail loop.

Date: Circa 2nd century AD
Provenance: Acquired from a London gallery in 2004. From the collection of a South West London, UK, collector.
Condition: Fine condition with slight patination to the surface. Minor abrasions to the back of the head/neck due to age.

In stock

SKU: CY-176 Category: Tags: , ,

Bulls were a common depiction is 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 practice was associated from the 2nd century AD to the great Mother goddess, to protect the people and the State. Many statuettes of this type have been recovered across the Roman Empire. The subject is thought to be of foreign influence, as either the Apis bull from Ancient Egyptian culture or the sacrificial animal at the centre of the mystic cult of the god Mithras originated in the East. Mithraism was a very popular cult amongst the military in Rome from the 1st up to the 4th century AD.

Weight 106.6 g
Dimensions L 7.2 x W 2.0 x H 6.5 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The Walters Art Museum, item 54.1565

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