Wall painting; Fresco: 77 x 107 in. (195.58 x 271.78 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.14.4)
This large painting fragment comes from the west wall of the exedra (Room L), opening off the rear of the villa’s peristyle. A sacrificial bull’s head (boukranion) originally occupied the center of the wall, from which an opulent garland of fruits and leaves is suspended to left and right against a brilliant wall of simulated masonry. Preserved are parts of four of the original five red slabs of the central zone, separated by golden bands and crowned by a white molding. There follows a course of alternating green and golden blocks that bears an elaborate entablature consisting of a white architrave, a purple frieze decorated with brackets in the form of bearded horned snakes with interlacing tails, and a white cornice. Hanging from a red cord tied in the bull’s mouth is a wicker basket, the cista mystica, its lid removed to reveal a snake uncoiling from a bed of ivy. Suspended from the garland also in red cords are a cymbal and a satyr mask.