Ancient Roman Bronze Feline Finial


A fine ancient Roman cast bronze finial in the shape of a feline, most likely a panther. Anatomical features, including pricked ears, pronounced snout, and a slightly open mouth are modelled naturalistically, whilst the mane is executed with incised lines on the back of the slightly curved neck. The head of the animal is perforated horizontally through the eyes for suspension. Possibly part of a handle on wine vessel originally, due to the animal’s association with Bacchus and thus symposia.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd Century AD
Condition: Fine condition.


SKU: CY-56 Category: Tag:

Finials, appliqués and mounts, such as this fine example, were extremely popular across the Roman Empire. It was the custom for the ancient Romans, especially the wealthy, to have highly decorated everyday life objects, such as jewellery boxes or toiletries tables.

In ancient Greek and Roman mythology and culture, panthers were considered to be the faithful companions of the wine god Dionysus, or his Roman counterpart Bacchus. The panthers were sacred to the god, who is often depicted riding them on sculptures, mosaics and wall paintings. The Dionysian thiasos (procession) was one of the favourite subjects in Ancient Roman art. It featured the god and his wife Ariadne at the centre, surrounded and followed by various animals such as panthers, lions, tigers and creatures such as satyrs and nymphs. Exotic and wild animals were associated with the wild and uncontrolled nature of this god.

Weight 20.8 g
Dimensions L 3.8 x W 1.9 cm



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