This Bacchic symbolism, with which the decoration of this fender is laden, was a frequently used theme which became established during the Empire. It was used to represent the plentiful riches of the new order and was often employed by the ciseleur de l'empereur, Pierre Phillipe Thomire, in works he produced for Napoleon. These designs often incorporated ancient symbolism, as here with the rhyton-cornucopia-mounts, not only to convey the bounty of the Empire, but as a way of adding legitimacy and implying strength by association with powerful empires of antiquity.
The rhyton, a horn-shaped vessel often decorated with bull’s mask - a sign of fertility - is thought to have existed for four millennia and was probably originally used both for drinking and ceremony. Here it is presented as the horn of plenty or cornucopia, the mouth overflowing with the earth’s fruits, an attribute of Ceres, Roman goddess of agriculture and abundance, further reinforcing the design's theme of bounty. A closely related fender, probably from the same workshop and with near identical rhyton-mounts was sold Sotheby's, New York, 21 May 2004, lot 90.