Cameo with Silenus riding a mule led by Amor

Imperial Period
1st century A.D.


Overall: 1.6 x 0.5 x 2.4 cm (5/8 x 3/16 x 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



White on milky-orange layered onyx. Cameo, set in a modern gold pendant. Silenus, nude, reclines on the back of a mule; his right hand is outstretched and holds a shallow object, perhaps a patera (sacrificial dish). The mule walks to the left, its head lowered, led by Amor, who holds the lead attached to the mule’s halter. He also grasps a long thin staff (a thyrsus?) and a shorter, curved object, perhaps a horn, outstretched. Both Amor and Silenus look upward to the left. The scene is set on a ground line. The cameo is chipped at the top and upper right edges.


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren; loaned to MFA by Edward Perry Warren, May 22, 1926 (as 256.26); purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, November 17, 1927, for $ 161,000.00 (this figure is the total price for MFA 27.647-27.761)

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912