Roman Bronze Bear Statuette


A Roman bear statuette cast from bronze. The animal has been stylistically rendered to display four short legs, two large ears and a long nose. There is a slight texture to the body used to mimic the fur. Earthly encrustation and patination cover the surface.

Date: 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: Fine condition, wear to the surface consistent with age.


SKU: LD-726 Category: Tags: ,

Bronze statuettes were popular across the Roman Empire, usually modelled in the shape of gods, goddesses and animals. Bears were frequently used for entertainment, whether that be to fight gladiators or kill prisoners in the arena. Cassius Dio mentions in Roman History, book LIX, that the emperor Augustus had many bears killed for entertainment for different occasions. One being the celebration of Drusilla birthday. Along with horse racing, a parade and athletes competing, five hundred bears were slain. Bears were also hunted as a sport, symbolising strength and bravery of the hunter.

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

Weight 22.9 g
Dimensions L 3.2 x H 2.4 cm



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