Roman Bronze Horse Head Protome

£ 100.00

A Roman horse head protome cast from bronze. The stylised animal has been carefully rendered to display its short muzzle, large eyes and pointed ears. Vertical grooves along the back of the neck mark out the mane. The attachment end of the piece is slightly curved, suggesting the piece would possibly have been part of a handle on a vessel.

Date: Circa 1st-4th 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 with patination to the surface.


SKU: CY-164 Category: Tags: , ,

During the Roman Empire, horses were extremely important for battle, as well as for aspects of everyday life, such as transportation, hunting, farming, and chariot racing. The Romans associated the horse with the spoils of war, connecting it symbolically with power, victory, honour, domination, and virility. In Graeco-Roman mythology and culture, the horse was said to have been created by Neptune (Poseidon) and devoted to Pluto (Hades) and Mars (Ares). The Romans also believed the horse to be a symbol of the continuity of life, and would sacrifice a horse to the god Mars every October, keeping its tail through the winter as a sign of fertility and rebirth.

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

Weight 13.9 g
Dimensions L 2.4 x W 1.0 x H 2.6 cm



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