Forepart of a river god (Acheloos)

Classical Period
about 460 B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Greek, Etruscan, & Roman Bronzes (MFA), no. 056; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 119 (additional published references).


Height x length: 4.6 x 6 cm (1 13/16 x 2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Archaic Greece Gallery (Gallery 113)


The Ancient World



The protome takes the form of the head and neck of a man-headed bull, probably river god Acheloos. The face is bearded, and the mane hangs down either side below the horns; the neck is formed of the typical, loose skin of the bull, treated in broad folds or large wrinkles. The bronze is cast solid, and the rivet-hole at the break on the left and the curved underside suggest that this protome adorned the rim of a large vessel. Corroded and cleaned. Greenish-black patina.


By date unknown: with Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Malzgasse 25, Basel, Switzerland (Münzen und Medaillen A.G. auction 14, Malzgasse 25, Basel, June 19, 1954, lot 28 [said to be from Syracuse]); by date unknown: Dr. Herbert A. Cahn Collection; gift of Dr. Herbert A. Cahn to MFA, September 17, 1959

Credit Line

Gift of Dr. Herbert A. Cahn