This lovely bronze statuette from Etruria depicts a male votive figure, probably a priest. He is wearing a himation, which is draped over his left shoulder and arm, and has put his weight slightly on his right leg so that his left leg is relaxed. Sandals are indicated by incisions. In his right hand he has a patera (Greek: phiale; a sacrificial saucer-shaped vessel for pouring a libation to the gods or for receiving a libation), which is decorated by incisions; in his left hand he has a pyxis. His hair is adorned by a diadem, usually referred to as a radiate stephane and interpreted as a wreath of ivy leaves or berries.
The statuette has a flattened form, which is typical of statuettes of offerers, produced in the late fourth and third centuries B.C.; these statuettes, usually in a lineair style, show the male offerer with his chest bare and with a radiate crown (see Warden, Hilprecht Collection, p. 20).
For a similar statuette of a priestess in the British Museum London (GR 1856.8-15.3) see H.B. Walters, Catalogue of the Bronzes, 693; for a highly detailed statuette of a priest see GR 1921.5-12.1 (Jean MacIntosh Turfa, “Votive Offerings in Etruscan Religion” p. 94, fig. VI.5).
G. Maetzke, "Per un Corpus dei Bronzetti Etruschi. La Collezione del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Chiusi", Studi Etruschi 25 (1957);
Jean MacIntosh Turfa, "Votive Offerings in Etruscan Religion" in: Nancy Thomson de Grummond - Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans (Sixth Langford Conference Proceedings) (Austin, University of Texas Press, 2006), p. 90-115, more specifically p. 92-94 and fig. VI.5 for the type of our statuette, including the attributes in his hands;
Jean MacIntosh Turfa, Catalogue of the Etruscan Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2005), p. 45 and 48;
P. Gregory Warden, The Hilprecht Collection of Greek, Italic, and Roman Bronzes in the University of Pennsylvania Museum (University Museum Monographs, 98) (Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1997), p. 20;
H.B. Walters, Catalogue of the Bronzes, Greek, Roman and Etruscan in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum (London, 1899), 693;
For the interpretation of the radiate stephane see:
Sybille Haynes, "The Bronze Priests and Priestesses from Nemi", Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäogischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung, 67 (1960), p. 34-47;
Mysteries of Diana: The Antiquities from Nemi in Nottingham Museums (Nottingham, Castle Museum, 1983), esp. p. 54-55.
Circa 3rd century B.C.
Height 11.1 cm.
UK private collection, acquired in 1955 from Spink’s
Intact, except for two small spots at the proper right knee and right foot that have been restored in a professional way; the object has been cleaned, as is usual with ancient bronze objects.