Oval gem with nude man holding a syrinx

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


Dimensions

Length: 11 mm (7/16 in.)

Accession Number

18.389

Medium or Technique

Onyx

Not On View

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

‘Nicolo’; the light blue layer is visible only in the bezel. Intaglio. Flat front and back with inward front and back bezels. A nude man stands in three-quarter view with his back to the viewer; his head is in profile to the left. He gazes down at a pan pipe (syrinx) held in his left hand. His right hand is held behind his back. A Bacchic standard (thyrsus) leans in front of him. His right leg crosses in front of his left as he stands on tiptoe. The man might be a satyr, a frequent member of Bacchus’s retinue that is often seen playing the syrinx.

Provenance

By date unknown: Alexander Cochrane Collection; gift of Alexander Cochrane to MFA, August 1, 1918

Credit Line

Gift of Alexander Cochrane