Mirror and Handle with the Birth of Helen

Italic, Etruscan
Classical Period
400–350 B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Greek, Etruscan, & Roman Bronzes (MFA), no. 376A; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 123 (additional published references).


Length: 29 cm (11 7/16 in.); diameter 18.8 cm (7 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

Design in relief showing the seated King of Lacedaemon, Tyndareos, contemplating an egg which is held by Hermes standing in the center. At the right Leda is seated in the rockwork landscape. Fish swim beneath their feet. Inscriptions in Etruscan identify the three figures as “Tuntle” (Tyndareos), “Turms” (Hermes) and “Latva” (Leda). The scene is framed by interlocking acanthus tendrils with a palmette at the base; on this basis as well as the inscriptions contained in relief boxes, some scholars have attributed the mirror to a Vulcian workshop. There is another palmette on the reverse, also at the base. The outside edge is enriched with an ovolo molding in relief.

There is a small piece broken off the upper rim, and one tip of the handle is missing. Brown and green patina, with some areas of corrosion.


By 1969: Robert E. Hecht, Jr.; April 14, 1971: purchased from Robert E. Hecht, Jr. by the MFA (said at the time of acquisition to have been known to the Classical department for about ten years, and was later recalled to have come from Hesperia Art, Philadelphia).

Credit Line

William E. Nickerson Fund, No. 2