Cameo with centaur grasping a goat on his shoulder

Roman
Imperial Period
late 1st century B.C.–mid 1st century A.D.


Dimensions

Diameter: 2.1 cm (13/16 in.)

Accession Number

98.759

Medium or Technique

Sardonyx

On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Cameos

White on dark-brown layered onyx. Cameo; pierced horizontally. A centaur walking to the left looks backwards and grasps the foreleg of a goat in his left hand. The goat appears to be slung over the centaur’s shoulder. A lion-skin cloak flutters behind the centaur, and his right hand holds a wine cup (kantharos) upside down, from which wine pours out. It is possible but not probable that the goat and the lion’s head on the cloak are instead meant to represent a chimera, a hybrid creature that combines features from both a goat and lion. The centaur stands on a ground line. There are brown incrustations in crevices of the carving, and minor chips along the edges of the cameo.

Provenance

By date unknown: Count Michel Tyszkiewicz Collection; 1898: auction of the M. Tyszkiewicz Collection, Hotel des Commissaires-Priseurs, 9 rue Drouot, Paris, June 8-10, lot 278; 1898: with Edward Perry Warren; 1898: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 69,618.13 (this figure is the total price for MFA 98.641-98.940)

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund