Marble two-sided relief


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162

The peristyle gardens of Roman houses and villas were filled with decorative marble reliefs such as this one. The masks of a young maenad and a bearded silenus are carved on one side in high relief. A shepherd’s crook, known in antiquity as a pedum, and two cymbals rest between them. Dionysiac cult objects and theatrical masks are often depicted on similar marble ornaments found in Pompeii, where they were suspended between the columns of the peristyle or set on tall pillars around the garden. Other themes, however, are also represented; on the other side of this piece, in low relief, a ketos, or sea monster, rides atop the waves.

Marble two-sided relief, Marble, Roman

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