Roman Bronze Mythical Beast Statuette


An ancient Roman bronze zoomophic figurine, most likely depicting a mythical creature.  The animal features a large, puffed out, breast, with two angular points, possibly wings, on its back. It has a long curved neck with bowed head. Details of a beak and single horn adorn the face. The base is flat and disc-like, but with an irregular edge with small points.  The body rests on a flat circular base.

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. Covered in attractive patination. Some wear due to age.


SKU: MJ-54 Category: Tags: ,

Bronze or silver statuettes were popular across the Roman Empire,modelled into a variety of shapes and forms. Animals, mythological figures and anthropomorphic shapes were all common. Given the inclusion of wings and the horned brow, most likely the piece depicts a mythical creature. Dragons and winged serpents, without a specific characterisation, were commonly depicted in Roman society. Within nomenclature, the latin term ‘draco’ was formed from the Greek ‘δράκων’ (drakon), which in turn was derived from the verb ‘δέρκομαι’ (dérkomai), “to see”. It was thought that such creatures were particularly good guardians and safe-keepers. With this in mind, this particular piece could have been mounted on a keepsake box, the small figurine acting as a guardian to the precious items inside.

Weight 25.8 g
Dimensions W 1.2 x H 4.5 cm



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