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Ivory inset from a couch-end ornament in the form of a satyr's head

 

Length: 10.000 cm

Castellani Collection

GR 1873.8-20.661

Room 22: Alexander the Great

    Ivory inset from a couch-end ornament in the form of a satyr's head

    Hellenistic, about 200-100 BC
    From Greece or neighbouring lands

    A suitable companion for feasting and recreation

    Couches made of wood and bronze were often decorated with a pair of satyr's heads in bone or ivory inlaid into the ornamented sides of the fulcra (head rests). The elongated shape of the head and beard fitted the characteristically curving space perfectly, and the association of satyrs with pleasures of the flesh made them an appropriate choice. This head has the snub nose, heavy-lidded eyes and pointed ears that is typical of the satyr. The mouth is slightly open to reveal the teeth. The long beard is luxuriant, and the hair is bound and entwined with ivy leaves.

    R.D. Barnett, 'Ancient ivories in the Middle East and adjacent countries' in QEDEM (Monographs of the Insti (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1982)

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    On display: Room 22: Alexander the Great

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    Greek designs, £9.99

    Greek designs, £9.99