Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A spectacular mold-made terracotta tragic theater mask presenting a most expressive visage of a satyr comprised of openwork eyes and mouth, a protruding naturalistic nose, dramatic knitted brows above the eyes, and a fabulous wavy coiffure with two goat-like horns and a pair of pinecones above the forehead. Roman masks played a very critical part in ancient theatrical productions. They usually portrayed striking expressions which could be read from the all parts of the theater, even the back, enabling the audience to understand the character's emotions - the ensemble of masks reflecting a wide gamut of emotions - including anger, fear, regret, sorrow, worry, jealousy, shock, gratitude, happiness, and of course love. In addition, these masks amplified the actors' voices, making it possible for all the patrons to hear the dialogue. Size: 7.75" W x 7.375" H (19.7 cm x 18.7 cm); 9.5" H (24.1 cm) on included custom stand.
Satyrs originated in Greek mythology but were also favored by the Romans. Their goatlike features were associated with Bacchus (Greek Dionysos) and his fondness for wine and pleasures of the flesh. See another Roman satyr mask- the Lion of Chaeronea - at the Capitoline Museums of Rome.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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