Oval gem with centaur and meanad

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


Length: 19 mm (3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Glass (paste)

Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Purple glass. Intaglio. Convex back. A centaur, galloping left, clutches a maenad around the waist with his left arm. In his raised left hand he holds a staff (thyrsus). His torso is seen from behind, horse body in profile, and he turns his head back to look at the maenad. The maenad, who is awkwardly flung across the centaur’s back, has her head thrown back and holds a tympanum in her upraised right hand. Her other arm is flung out to the side towards the centaur’s rump suggesting that she is struggling against the grasp of the centaur. Her dress is in disarray, leaving her left leg and possibly her left breast exposed. Motif situated on a ground line.


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: bought in Rome); 1898: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 69,618.13 (this figure is the total price for MFA 98.641-98.940)

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund