Exhibition catalogue, Antiquities from the Bomford Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1966, p. 65, no. 321, pl. XXIX; S. Haynes, Four Ancient Bronzes in the Bomford Collection, The Burlington Magazine, December 1966, p. 599ff., figs. 5-9; and S. Haynes, Bronzen Aus Magna Graecia, Antike Kunst, 14, 1971, p. 36, pl. 13, no. 2.
Haynes notes that this statuette is unique. The identification with a priest or king is ruled out by the short belted tunic which characterizes people leading an active outdoor life (hunters, horsemen, working men or their patron gods) and the knee-high boots; high boots made of felt were worn principally by the rustic Boeotians, by old men and by humble and poor folk, and those made of leather by hunters, soldiers and certain gods. "...The particular fruit incorporated in the wreath are a clue to his nature. For crowns of corn ears are only worn by gods connected with the agrarian cults which form the basis of the Eleusinian mysteries: Demeter, the goddess of fertility and corn, her daughter Kore, and the hero Triptolemos... The poppy and pomegranate are the typical symbols of the chthonian divinities Hades (or Pluto) and Persephone (Kore), whose cult was closely linked with the Eleusinian rites. And lastly the bunches of grapes are the emblems of Dionysos, who is associated with the Eleusinian mysteries at least from the 5th Century B.C. onwards... Our figure thus represents a god who shares the characteristics of all the main divinities worshipped at Eleusis, and I would accordingly restore a thyrsus, the ivy-tipped staff of Dionysos, in his raised right hand and in his left a drinking horn or a cup, or possibly a torch, an object used both in the Dionysiac revels and in the Eleusinian rites". Haynes goes on to note that the syncretism, or merging of related religious ideas and cults to which this statue bears witness, need not surprise us for the realms of Demeter, Kore, Pluto and Dionysos had much in common (Dionysos was not only god of wine but of vegetation in general as well as being connected with the underworld). In the Eleusinian mysteries, the cycle of vegetation with its continual renewal grew into a symbol of the chain of human generations and those admitted to the cult were assured of the eternal continuity of life, an appealing message leading to the development of kindred cults elsewhere of which the most important were the Dionysiac mysteries.