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Bronze mask of Dionysos
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This mask originally supported the handle of a ritual vessel with a handle ring (now missing) projecting from the top of the head. It shows great craftsmanship, both in the high quality of the bronze casting and in the use of metal inlay to highlight the details. Grapes, ivy berries and the lips are inlaid with copper, an iron band encircles the forehead, and the eyes are inlaid with silver.

This image is probably a result of the merging of Greek and Egyptian religions after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 вс. Dionysos, the Greek god of wine, became assimilated with Osiris, consort of the Egyptian god Isis. The vessel of which the mask was part was probably a cross between a Dionysiac wine-mixing bowl and the ritual bucket (situla) used in the worship of Isis to hold 'the milk of life'.

Bronze mask of Dionysos


From Greece, c. 200 BC-AD 100 Ht 21.4 cm
Purchased with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund




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