Ancient Roman Glass Dolphin Pendant

$242.57

An ancient Roman glass pendant, made from tooled glass into the shape of a dolphin. It features a large, rounded head, undulating into a more narrow tail and ending in a forked fin. The glassed has been tooled to produce the rounded nose and small crest as well. There is a large suspension hole that forms the animal’s eye.

Date: Circa 3rd - 5th century AD
Provenance: Ex Sasson family coll., Jerusalem (since 1925). Acquired by Ancient & Oriental in April 2022
Condition: Very fine. Fin slightly chipped on item B. Beautiful iridescense.
SKU: AG-33 Category: Tags: ,

Dolphins were a popular motif in Roman art. They were used as amulets, like these examples or depicted as statues in bronze, as well as on mosaics, frescoes and on the reverse of coins. They appear frequently in mythology, often helping Classical heroes such as Theseus, as well as being associated with a number of gods, including Bacchus, Apollo, Venus and Cupid. Within the creation myth written by the Latin author, Nonnus, writing in the 5th century AD, he claims within in his epic poem the ‘Dionysiaca’that a dolphin carried Aphrodite from the sea to the island of Cyprus.

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

Weight 1.62 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 1.2 cm
Culture

Glass

Region

Reference: For similar shape and use: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 74.51.4025 and The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 74.51.4024

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