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Clay relief plaque, moulded from a sword scabbard.
A plaque from a mould taken from the upper part of a sword-scabbard, with busts of Helen between her brothers, the Dioskouroi. The latter, behind a curved ground-line, wear tunics and pointed caps. Helen’s hair is parted in the middle and she wears a closely woven bound wreath with a diadem above. Both sides of the plaque are broken away, and it has plain top and bottom mouldings. A suspension-hole is pierced above Helen’s head. The back is plain and slightly concave.
One-piece mould. Micaceous brown Nile silt with a red core.
- Production date
Height: 7.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- BM Terracotta IV
For a general discussion of Helen with the Dioskouroi, see LIMC iv (1): 505–7. A Knidian Grey Ware bowl-emblema has a relief scene similar to ours, but with a circular border: Hayes 1991: 12, no. 13, fig. v:13, pl. iii:18, from Paphos: a late third-/mid-second-century bc date is suggested = LIMC iii (2): pl. 467, Dioskouroi 148. Two hanging lamps from Egypt bear a relief scene also of the Dioskouroi and Helen: the two males each hold a horse protome (Barry 1906: pl. v; Graindor 1939: pl. i:5). Compare a real bronze scabbard-mount in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, with similar curved ground-line, and with relief busts of Julia, daughter of Augustus, between her sons Caius and Lucius Caesar (publications include Zanker 1987: 221, fig. 172 and Künzl 1996: pl. 44:1); the busts on this scabbard-mount have also been identified as Livia and her sons Tiberius and Drusus I (Rose 1997: pl. 10 and in Winkes 1995: 97, no. 20, with bibliography).
Bibliog. Vogt 1924: 27, fig. 26, where the Bircher Collection provenance is given: Vogt suggests the female bust is that of Selene; Vassilika 1992: 271, no. 49; Cook 1995: 228.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
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