A ROMAN BRONZE AND IRON CAVALRY PARADE MASK
A ROMAN BRONZE AND IRON CAVALRY PARADE MASK

CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN BRONZE AND IRON CAVALRY PARADE MASK
CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.
8 in. (20.5 cm.) high
Provenance
with Kojiro Ishiguro (1916-1992), Tokyo, prior to 1966.
with Sakae Art Gallery, Japan, prior to 1981.

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Beatrice Campi
Beatrice Campi

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Lot Essay

The cavalry sports helmet, consisting of two separate pieces – the helmet and a mask, was worn by Roman auxiliary cavalry in equestrian exercises known as hippica gymnasia. Along with these elaborate helmets would be worn a special shield, an embroidered tunic and possibly thigh-guards and greaves, all of which would contribute to the splendour of the display. These exercises most probably accompanied religious festivals celebrated by the Roman army and were also put on for the benefit of visiting officials. Arrian, a provincial governor under Hadrian, and the only surviving source of information about the hippica gymnasia, describes how the horsemen were divided into opposing teams, taking turns to attack and defend, with flourishing displays of skills and horsemanship for the delight of the audience.

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