ostracon ancient art



Egyptian Terracotta Head of Serapis, Roman Period, 2nd Century AD

Large head of Serapis shown with a fulsome beard and fringed hairdo over the forehead. On the crown a closed modius decorated with an olive branch.

The face with a small nose and flat eye cavities with thin eyelids. The mouth enclosed by a stringy moustache.

Large-sized heads of Serapis are relatively rare. They are to be considered as votive offerings in their own right. This is also confirmed by the partially preserved standing ring on the back.

For a related votive head from Alexandria, cf. item no. 149 in: W. Hornbostel. Kunst der Antike. Schätze aus norddeutschem Privatbesitz. Exhibition Catalogue. Hamburg 1977.

The god Serapis descends from Ptolemaic cult in an attempt to integrate Egyptian and Greek religion. The human-looking new god was the equivalent of Osiris and of the highly popular Apis and named Osiris-Apis, subsequently abbreviated to Serapis. The syncretic god was worshiped as the master of the underworld and the guardian of the corn supply. His attributes are thus the Cerberus of the Hades and the modius used to measure the corn.

Large and rare, nice Hellenistic style. Left eye indented. Front side of the stand ring chipped.

H. 17.5 cm (6.9 in)
H. with stand 20.6 cm (8.1 in)

Ex US private collection.

1450 USD

Click above for larger pictures --------


Galerie Ostracon, Postfach 202, CH-8800 Thalwil, Switzerland
Copyright © 1998-2023 by Galerie Ostracon - All Rights Reserved