Paterae finials and handles in the shape of rams’ heads have been recovered across the extent of the Roman Empire. A patera was a broad and shallow dish or bowl, mostly produced in bronze, and often used as a sacred libation vessel. The ram’s head finial could allude to the ritual function of the object, as the ram was a favoured sacrificial victim at Roman festivals. Paterae were also used in the domestic sphere.
Ancient Roman Bronze Patera Handle with Ram’s Head Finial
An extremely fine and well-preserved Ancient Roman cast bronze handle, which may have once belonged to a patera. The handle is modelled in the shape of a fluted column shaft, ending in a ram’s head finial. The animal’s facial features are rendered in a naturalistic manner, with fine details such as the texture of the wool and the ridges of the horns carefully incised. The base of the handle, where it would have attached to the body of the vessel, is a curved sheet of metal with symmetric projections, decorated in a raised vegetal design.
The handle sits upon a custom made stand.
Provenance: From the collection of a London gentleman, bought from Astarte Gallery, 1970s; Ex JL Collection
Condition: Very fine condition. Some warping to bottom of shaft, and green patination to reverse of handle attachment.