Cameo with Silenus leaning over the head of a maenad or hermaphrodite

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


Overall (as preserved): 2.9 x 1.2 x 0.4 cm (6.48 lb., 1/2 x 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



White on yellowish-brown layered onyx. Cameo preserved in a semicircular fragment. A nude, balding Silenus, with a pointed ear, bends forward to the right, leaning with his left hand against a tree (of which only the upper part is preserved). Between Silenus and the tree is a female head, in profile to the right, likely that of a maenad or a hermaphrodite. Her hair is pulled up behind her and held in place with a band wrapped twice around her head.


By date unknown: C. Wissmann Collection (according to TMS archival card: Buffum Collection); gift of Miss C. Wissmann to MFA, April 1, 1902

Credit Line

Gift of Miss C. Wissmann