Bacchic herma1st. Century AD
This type of sculpture, called herma, is common in the decoration of domus or wealthy Roman houses, although they can also be found in simpler houses or in stores, as in the case of Pompeii.
This piece stands out for its invoice, with oriental features, which shows what is surely a copy of a sculpture from the Hellenistic stage, which during the Roman high-imperial era became very popular. The material used, called giallo antico, was a very appreciated limestone marble that came from a imperial quarry of the current Chemtou, in Tunisia. It was known in ancient times as numidicum marmor due to its origin. The piece was possibly sculpted in a workshop that mechanized part of the production. However, the hardness of the material forced to make the latest tweaks individually, and therefore we would hardly find two equal pieces. The detail work of the stone gives the piece a great finesse and delicacy.
The hermas were not exempt pieces but busts carved for one side, with a smooth back. They were usually inserted into a pillar or were part of the decoration of a wall. In this case, they have been able to document remains of stucco and greenish paint that would confirm their insertion into a wall. The piece also had rests of concretion, indicating that it could have been in an outside space or very close to a water source.
These images enjoyed magical-religious powers to move away naughtiness and bring good luck in all senses to the owners of the house.
Material: Marble giallo antico Dimensions: 21 x 14,3 x 4,5 cm Ref.: MB 17655
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