Statue of Priapus

Imperial Period
A.D. 170–240

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 206; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 112 (additional published references).


Overall: 159 x 53 x 32 cm (62 5/8 x 20 7/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Roman Art Gallery (Gallery 213)


The Ancient World



Bearded Priapus has a fillet with herringbone enrichment tied around his brow, and a cloak over his head and shoulders. He wears a high-belted sleeveless tunic over a long-sleeved tunic. He is holding them up to contain a lapful of fruits. His erect phallus also acts as a support for the fruit. High, rustic boots adorn his feet, which stand on a plinth. Such statues were placed in Roman gardens to ensure growth and act as protector of crops.

All surfaces are damaged somewhat and have been affected by ancient and later weathering.


According to B. Palma, et al., Museo Nazionale Romano, Le Sculture (a cura di Antonio Giuliano) I, 6: Marmi Ludovisi dispersi (1979), p. 15: Lanciani acted as an intermediary in the sale of several sculptures from the Ludovisi Collection to the MFA, Boston, including this Priapos; by date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to his records: presumably from Rome); 1908: gift of Edward Perry Warren to MFA; accessioned 1910

Credit Line

Gift of Fiske Warren and Edward Perry Warren