A Roman bronze fish vessel lid featuring an ovoid body with a small tail. Diagonal ridges are visible across the body adding texture to the piece. A loop has been added to the top to connect to the now missing vessel. The reverse is unadorned and concave.
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, encrustation and patination are visible to the surface.
In Ancient Rome the fish could have many meanings and uses. In the Defense of Apuleius the writer has to defend himself against charges of magic and witchcraft due to the fact a certain type of fish was found in his house. Fish were also very important to the mediterranean diet as Fish Sauce was a key flavouring in the Ancient World.
In addition, the symbol of the fish was associated with the Greek god, Orpheus, who was described as a “fisher of men”. The descent of Orpheus into the underworld to save the soul of his lover, Eurydice, also became a metaphor for Christ the Saviour.
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