MYTHOLOGICAL ROMAN BEAKER
MYTHOLOGICAL ROMAN BEAKER of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
Late first century AD. Eastern Mediterranean.
H = 12.0 cm. D rim = 6.6 cm. D base = 4.4 cm. Weight 98 gr.
Classification: Weinberg 1972: Group 1.
Condition: Intact. Very crisp relief. Minute chips to rim. Some iridescence and incrustation.
Technique: Blown in a five-part mold with four vertical sections and base plate.
Description: Semi transparent light olive-green yellowish colored glass. Slightly everted cut-off rim with ground lip. Straight walls tapering slightly towards the flat base with a raised ring-and-dot motif. The walls decorated in relief in a frieze between 1.5 cm below rim and 1.5 cm above base, comprising four panels, separated by plain columns with stepped bases and tall capitals that widen towards their tops. Above panels gabled tops in the form of triangles in raised outline. Each panel contains one figure standing on surrounding string course and facing right: (A): woman wearing a himation (cloak) over a long chiton, holding the hind legs of a dead boar in her down-stretched right hand and carrying a staff on her left shoulder from which two birds in the front and a hare in the rear are hanging. (B): nude male carrying dead calf upside down on his left shoulder. (C): male wearing a chitoniskos and chlamys with a vessel in his right hand and staff or sickle in left hand. (D): male with closely cropped hair, holding caduceus in his right hand and purse or tortoise shell in his left hand.
Remarks: G.D. Weinberg (1972) and K.B. Wight (1994) divided mythological beakers into four groups, this beaker belonging to group 1, that consists of some ten examples, most of them in museum collections (e.g. British Museum, Corning Museum, National Museum Athens, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf). It is suggested, that the iconography on the beaker represents (A) as personification of Winter, (B) as Hercules, (C) as Hymen or personification of Summer and (D) as Mercury and that it refers to the wedding procession of Peleus and Thetis. These beakers have possibly been gifts at ceremonial occasions or served as ritual vessels.
Provenance: Ex Armand Trampitsch Collection, Paris 1960’s.
Published: Christie’s 7 October 2010, No. 54., Romeins Glas uit particulier bezit, J. v.d. Groen & H. van Rossum, p. 36-37.
Reference: Whitehouse 2001, Corning Museum, No. 527., Harden 1968, British Museum, No. 64.
Saldern 1980, Hans Cohn Collection, No. 46., Israeli 2011, The Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, p. 79.
Sotheby’s 4/5 June 1979, The Constable-Maxwell Collection, No. 143.