Romano-Celtic Bronze Thracian Rider Figurine


An exquisite Romano-Celtic example of a bronze Thracian rider figurine, displaying beautiful green patina. The rider is wearing military attire with his right arm raised, which may have originally held a spear, and his left arm outstretched by his side. The figure’s hair is formed into a low bun and the face features are carefully rendered presenting a strong brow, small recesses for eyes and a pronounced nose. The lower section of his garment flares out over his legs to create a curved base, allowing for the figure to sit upright on the horse. There is some residue on the underside of the figure, once used to attach the piece to the horse.

The horse showcases elegant anatomical rendering, with incisions detailing the mane, ears, tail, and eyes. The horse also wears a bridle, with a browband, noseband and cheek pieces. Around its neck is a band of concentric circles, likely representative of a decorative chain piece. The animal is in a moving position, with its right foreleg raised, and the back legs slightly bent. The horse’s legs are attached to a piece of lead with the purpose of supporting the figures, allowing them to stand unaided.

The horse has been attached to a rectangular mount with adhesive. The rider remains unattached and rests upon the horses back unsupported.

Date: Circa 3rd - 4th Century AD
Provenance: Ex private UK collection, 1990's.
Condition: Very fine condition. There are some small pockmarks in the bronze, on the left arm, back of head, chest, and shoulders. The bronze has green patina which covers the surface. There is a patch of dried modern residue on the underside of the rider.

In stock

Rider figures appear in numerous cultures across the world. During the Roman occupation of Britain, many classical deities became syncretised with native ones. Although there is no epigraphic evidence to confirm it, the ‘rider gods’ may well fall into this category. Throughout Roman Britain, cults developed around ‘rider gods’ who were seen as either hunting or war related deities. They were widespread and produced a variety of material culture. It has been proposed that figurines such as this example were either votive offerings or ‘souvenirs’ collected by pilgrims. Similar imagery is also seen in brooch form and as stone carvings, such as the Stragglethorpe Rider relief.

Weight 87.7 g
Dimensions L 4.7 x W 4.4 x H 5.8 cm




Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 1990,0101.2

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