Roman Bronze Mirror with Decorative Patera Handle

£ 700.00

A beautiful and interesting example of an everyday Roman artefact, a cast bronze round mirror, assembled in antiquity together with a patera handle (a libation bowl), composed of a short shaft with expanding shoulders, ending in stylised heads of swans. The round body would have originally been polished or plated to the interior to create a reflective surface. The exceptionality of such a piece lays in the fine decoration visible to the handle, a moulded depiction of the Roman winged deity of love, Cupid, here portrayed as a chubby child, holding what may be a goose. Mirrors were highly valued by individuals of Ancient Rome, on account of the importance given to appearance and grooming. Bronze mirrors would have been present in every aristocratic household, but also buried with the deceased as a grave good.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd Century AD
Condition: Fine, with some areas of encrustation and thick patination. Professionally restored.


SKU: FP-245 Category: Tags: ,

The connection between Cupid and the goose stems from Greek art, where Eros was depicted on vases as giving geese as gifts to Aphrodite. Both Aphrodite and Eros are shown holding or even riding a goose on a vase with terracotta sculptures. The geese were considered sacred animals of Aphrodite. Aristophanes notes that many youths have indeed succumbed to their desires and have been led away led away by the gift of a quail, a waterfowl, a goose, or a cock(Aristophanes, Birds 685 ff).

Weight 21.4 g
Dimensions L 16.7 x H 11.1 cm


Roman Mythology

Greek Mythology


Reference: For a similar item, The Liverpool Museum.

You may also like…