Roman Bronze Fulcrum in the shape of a Mule
Culture: Roman, Ro-Imperial
Period: 1st century A.D.
Material: Bronze with silver inlays
Dimensions: Height: 5.2cm
Ex-Leo Mildenberg collection, Switzerland.
Excellent condition, with silver inlays for each eye remaining. Beautiful green-bronw patina.
This beautiful head of a mule, the upper element of a Roman bronze fulcrum, was meant to be affixed to a banquet bed (klinai). Such elements were sculpted in the shape of animal protome (horses, mule, donkeys, hounds, panthers, etc…) ts étaient sculptés en forme de protomé d’animal (cheval, mule, âne, molosse, panthère, etc.). This partcular protome represents, in an extremely realistic rendering, the head of a mule with a melancolic expression, comparable to those of the images from the Dionysiac cycle where the animal carries the god and his wife Ariane or the silenus who accompany the divine procession. The animal wears a garland of ivy leaves around itshead, with thick curled mane and characteristic long ears, silver inlaid eyes, mounted. The details, incised or modeled of the head, the mane, or the ivy leaves garland are rendered with a delicate and refined mastery.
BIERS J. (éd.), “A peacable Kingdom, Animals in Ancient Art from the L. Mildenberg Collection“, Part VI, 2004, p. 61, n. VI, 63.