Fragment of a Goat's Head

Fragment of a Goat's Head

c. 500-475 BC

Limestone

Overall: 35 cm (13 3/4 in.)

Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1926.538

Location

Did you know?

Pan, the goat-headed god, is often called a son of Hermes, but sources disagree.

Description

Initially identified as a horse head, this fragmentary sculpture, once painted reddish-brown, has a beard, indicating that it depicts a goat. Its large size, however, together with its neck position and unusual round eye, have all prompted questions. Was the head broken from a rearing goat? Or did it represent Pan, the rustic shepherd god often depicted as half-man, half-goat? If Pan, some scholars have connected it with a fifth-century BC Athenian sanctuary erected to thank the god for aid in battle. An alleged provenance near the Athenian Acropolis supported this idea, but scientific tests suggest otherwise.

See also
Collection: 
GR - Greek
Department: 
Greek and Roman Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Limestone

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