Roman Bronze Horse and Rider Attachment

£ 10,000.00

An extensive Roman bronze furniture fitting or attachment featuring a horse and rider. The male figure on the left wears a short tunic, cloak and sandals. His outfit as well as his cropped haircut indicate him to be a military man. His right arm is held out to his hip, while he leads a horse with his left hand, which is shown in side profile. The horse is sculpted as though caught in motion, tail and mane flowing, front left leg raised. Its muscles are rendered very naturalistically, and overall the piece is most impressive. Both figures rest on a base which has a hook extending out from the back and a terminal extending from the bottom, now fragmented. An exceptional piece of quality craftsmanship.

The handle is mounted on a custom made stand ( 394.1 g) that is included to the overall weight of the attachment.

Date: Circa 1st - 3rd century AD
Provenance: Ex private French collection, Paris, acquired 1970s.
Condition: Fine condition. A lot of surface patination. The terminal extending from the bottom of the statue base is now missing.


SKU: RF-016 Category: Tags: , , ,

Since the terminal of this object is now fragmented, it is very difficult to ascertain what its original function may have been. However, its decorative purpose is fully intact. The Romans were known for their military strength and prowess, a theme which thus often permeated sculptures of the Roman era. This bronze offers a variation on the horse and rider statue, here showing the horseman leading rather than riding the animal.

During the Roman Empire, horses were extremely important for battle, as well as for aspects of everyday life, such as transportation, hunting, farming, and chariot racing. The Romans associated the horse with the spoils of war, connecting it symbolically with power, victory, honour, domination, and virility. In Graeco-Roman mythology and culture, the horse was said to have been created by Poseidon (Neptune) and devoted to Hades (Pluto) and Ares (Mars). The Romans also believed the horse to be a symbol of the continuity of life, and would sacrifice a horse to the god Mars every October, keeping its tail through the winter as a sign of fertility and rebirth.

For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.

Weight 1649.1 g
Dimensions L 16.6 x W 7.6 x H 15.4 cm



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