Nov 12, 2009
Nov 12, 2009

Silenus Bust for a Couch

Silenus Bust for a Couch

1–125 CE


Diameter: 7.8 cm (3 1/16 in.); Overall: 11 cm (4 5/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1974.88


Did you know?

This silenus’s beard is made up of exactly ten ringlets of curls.


This bust of Silenus was part of the fulcrum or armrest of an ancient Roman couch. Silenus was the tutor and companion of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. He is shown with a long curly beard, bushy eyebrows, and wearing a garland of ivy vines with berries. His deerskin robe, tied by the animal’s hoof, falls off his shoulder, suggesting drunkenness. The bust would have been placed at the base of the armrest where it met the seat of the couch, while an animal head likely decorated the top. As is the case with many Roman objects, Romans adapted their couch style and decoration from the Greeks.

See also
GR - Roman
Greek and Roman Art
Type of artwork: 

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