Roman Parade Bronze Mask
Culture: Roman, Ro-Imperial
Period: Roman, 1st century A.D. (probably ca. 50 A.D.).
Material: Bronze sheet
Dimensions: Height: 16.5 cm; Length: 13.2 cm.
European Art Market, acquired in 1998.
The state of preservation is excellent, and parts of the brown surface present a beautiful green patina.
This beautiful and expressive bronze mask, was actually the anterior part to a “face helmet”: it was fixed to the rest of the helmet by a hinge located on the forehead and by rivets passing through the visible holes at the edges (at the level of the temples and the mouth). The mask is hammered from a bronze sheet of very even thickness (approximately one millimeter).
In the Middle Ages, the “face helmets” were used not only during battles but also during tournaments and sporting jousts: parade equipment (with gold and silver elements for the rider and the horses) was already well attested to in many areas during the Imperial period (Central and Northern Europe, England, Balkans, Anatolia, Syria, etc). In spite of the very concrete and precise way in which these helmets were manufactured, this mask is of a remarkable artistic and stylistic quality.
Christie’s Antiquities, New-York, December 7th 2000, lot no. 215.
FEUGERE M., Les armes des Romains de la République à l’Antiquité tardive, Paris, 2002, p. 187ss.
FEUGERE M., Casques antiques, Les visages de la guerre de Mycènes à la fin de l’empire romain, Paris, 1994, pp. 123-140. GARBSCH J., Römische Paraderüstungen, Munich, 1978, p. 20 et p. 63, n. O7, pl. 18,2.
JUNKELMANN M., Reiter wie Statuen aus Erz, Mayence/Rhin, 1996, fig. 28, n. O81; fig. 104-105, n. 82 et n. 088.
JUNKELMANN M., Die Reiter Roms, Teil II: der militärische Einsatz, Mayence/Rhin, 1991, p. 161ss.