A ROMAN ONYX CAMEO WITH A CHILD'S HEAD
A ROMAN ONYX CAMEO WITH A CHILD'S HEAD
1 More
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more
A ROMAN ONYX CAMEO WITH A CHILD'S HEAD

CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN ONYX CAMEO WITH A CHILD'S HEAD
CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.
11/16 in. (1.7 cm.) long
Provenance
Giorgio Sangiorgi (1886-1965), Rome, acquired and brought to Switzerland, late 1930s; thence by continuous descent to the current owner.
Literature
J. Boardman and C. Wagner, Masterpieces in Miniature: Engraved Gems from Prehistory to the Present, London, 2018, p. 243, no. 227.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Claudio Corsi
Claudio Corsi Specialist, Head of Department

Lot Essay

The cameo depicts a three-quarters facing head of a chubby baby with short wavy hair, open mouth, rounded cheeks and articulated eyes, carved in high relief in white over a translucent yellow onyx, with a convex back. The child probably represents the hero Hercules, as the knotted paws of an animal skin can be seen around his neck. There is also no lock of hair running centrally over the head commonly used to indicate a child or Eros. Portraying a baby Hercules wearing the lion skin is perhaps endowing strength to the owner, with a reference to the hero's first labour: his first task in a series of twelve assigned by his cousin and nemesis King Eurythesus was to defeat the Nemean lion, a mythological beast who according to legend had impenetrable fur and claws stronger than mortal weapons. Hercules' succeeded in killing the lion by first stunning it with his club, and then strangling it to death with his super strength.
;

More from Antiquities: Including Ancient Engraved Gems Formerly in the G. Sangiorgi Collection Part IV

View All
View All