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Lot 0169
**Originally Listed At $1000**

Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. An elegant hammered bronze strigil created from a single sheet of bronze with a wide, concave, curved blade that tapers to a rounded end. The blade straightens out to a slender handle of a beautiful design as it bends back (with notches perhaps for inserting a string for suspension) and folds down dramatically along the verso to join the front side via a perforation. In the Classical World, athletes would apply olive oil to their bodies and scrape the skin's surface with a strigil to clean themselves. Demonstrating this, numerous ancient vase paintings depict athletes using strigils to cleanse themselves following exercise. A wonderful example of this ancient tool for athletes - covered in a marvelous patina of dark-green and russet-hues. Size: 9.5" W x 6.75" H (24.1 cm x 17.1 cm); 8.625" H (21.9 cm) on included custom stand.

The strigil was a scraper used in combination with olive oil and sand or pumice to exfoliate the skin after exercising or bathing. It was an essential piece of equipment for the typical Greek and Roman athlete, and as such came to symbolize athleticism itself. In addition to Greek vases with depictions of youthful athletes using strigils in the gymnasium, the celebrated sculpture by Lysippos, the Apoxyomenos (ca. 350 to 325 BCE) in the Vatican Museo Pio-Clementino, found in Trastevere, depicts a nude athlete scraping himself off with a strigil.

A similar example with an incised figure on the handle hammered for $9,000 at Sotheby's, New York Antiquities Auction (June 7, 2005, lot 2): http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2005/antiquities-n08104/lot.2.html

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Neil Phillips collection, New York, USA, acquired in the 1980s

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Slight age wear as shown but intact and near choice. Surface has developed an attractive green and russet patina over the course of history.

Starting Bid


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Near-Choice Roman Hammered Bronze Strigil

Estimate $1,800 - $2,700
$8000 bids
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Artemis Gallerybadge TOP RATED
Louisville, CO, USA