Figure of Cerberus - ROM2010_11494_5


Figure of Cerberus

Medium:Cast bronze
Geography: Found in Gaul (modern France)
Date: c. 200-300 AD
Period: Roman Imperial period
6.47 x 6.32 cm
Object number: 999.57.1
On view
Gallery Location:Eaton Gallery of Rome: bronze sculpture

Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hades is seated on his haunches with right forepaw raised.  The three heads are each a different size, with the centre head being the largest, the right head the next in size and the left head the smallest. The centre neck appears to have a collar, but it is only indicated at the front. The beast's tail curls around the upper part of his right hind leg. His coat is indicated by numerous, short, finely engraved parallel lines. It is possible that raised right forepaw rested on an object no longer extant.

The Roman era witnessed a great increase in the making of small-scale bronze statuettes, compared to the lesser numbers produced during the (Greek) Hellenistic period. Roman bronzes were easily transportable, widely coveted, and carried to all corners of the Empire. Therefore, determining a bronze’s place of production can be difficult today. Statuettes in the Imperial West were used mainly as cult images in the household shrine, a lararium.

Roman World
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