A Roman bear statuette cast from bronze featuring the animal in a sitting position with its back legs bent and the front legs out stretched. The bear has been rendered semi-naturalistically and has been mounted on a custom-made stand. The piece has been pieced through the centre vertically for attachment.
Date: Circa 1st-3rd 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, patination to the surface. Measurements without the stand; 4.2cm height, 4.6cm width
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.
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