Ancient Collection

Head of Meleager
Head of Meleager

Head of Meleager

After Skopas
Greek (c. 370–330 B.C.)
Late Republican–Early Imperial (1st cent. B.C.–2nd cent. A.D.)
50 B.C.–A.D. 100
Marble
11 3/4 x 8 x 9 1/2 in. (29.8 x 20.3 x 24.1 cm)
AP 1967.10
This head is from a Roman copy of a full-length statue by the famed fourth-century-B.C. Greek sculptor Skopas. It showed the mythological hero Meleager with a hunting dog and the head of the Kalydonian boar.
Mummy Mask
Mummy Mask

Mummy Mask

Egypt
Roman period
c. A.D. 120-170
Stucco/gesso with paint, gold leaf, and glass inlays
11 9/16 x 7 5/8 x 5 1/2 in. (29.4 x 19.4 x 14 cm)
AP 1970.05
By the first century B.C., Rome had come to dominate the Mediterranean world. The influence of Roman funerary art and practices is very much apparent in this Egyptian mask.
Priestess of the Imperial Cult
Priestess of the Imperial Cult

Priestess of the Imperial Cult

Roman
2nd century A.D.
A.D. 170–180
Marble
13 1/4 x 10 5/8 x 9 5/8 in. (33.6 x 27 x 24.5 cm)
AP 1969.18
This head of a young woman was originally part of a full-length, draped statue. It was formerly identified as a portrait of Faustina the Younger, wife of the emperor Marcus Aurelius and daughter of Antoninus Pius.
Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Roman
3rd century
c. A.D. 210–225
Marble (probably from Carrara, Italy)
14 3/8 x 9 7/8 x 10 1/4 in. (36.5 x 25.1 x 26 cm)
AP 1967.11
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (reigned A.D. 161–80), the archetypal “philosopher-king,” is perhaps best known today as the author of the Stoic philosophical treatise The Meditations.
Bearded Man
Bearded Man

Bearded Man

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
22 1/4 x 21 1/8 in. (56.5 x 53.7 cm)
AP 1972.19
The identity of this image of a bearded man is unknown. His iconic, frontal pose and serene expression perhaps indicate that he is meant to represent a biblical figure, though not all church decoration at this time was overtly Christian in iconography.
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)

Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
18 1/16 x 19 in. (45.8 x 48.2 cm)
AP 1972.22
This chalice is a flattened, schematized image of a vessel with a hemispherical bottom from which rises a hollow stem with two strands of ivy streaming from the top.
Long-Legged Bird, Possibly a Crane
Long-Legged Bird, Possibly a Crane

Long-Legged Bird, Possibly a Crane

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
15 1/2 x 20 in. (39.4 x 50.8 cm)
AP 1972.24
This schematized image of a long-legged bird is possibly a crane, a symbol of vigilance and watchfulness in Christian art. This bird has a long red beak and legs, and faces toward the viewer’s left. The body is outlined in black; the black eye is surrounded by small red chips.
Parrot
Parrot

Parrot

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
13 3/4 x 19 3/4 in. (35 x 50.2 cm)
AP 1972.21
This schematized image of a bird depicts a parrot with a red beak and legs. Black tesserae outline a body predominantly composed of green tesserae with red and yellow around the black pupil of the eye, two yellow tones on the wing, and two gray tones on the underbody.
Peacock
Peacock

Peacock

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
16 3/4 x 20 1/4 in. (42.5 x 51.4 cm)
AP 1972.23
In early Christian art, the peacock symbolized immortality. This peacock might have carried this meaning, or it may have referred to worldly pride and vanity. This schematized image, with black eye, legs, and beak, faces toward the viewer’s right. The head, body, and wings are outlined in black.
Peacock and a Flower
Peacock and a Flower

Peacock and a Flower

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
24 11/16 x 39 in. (62.7 x 99.1 cm)
AP 1972.18
In Early Christian art, the peacock symbolized immortality and was therefore an appropriate element in the decoration of a church. The accompanying flower probably alludes to God’s bountiful creation.
Rooster
Rooster

Rooster

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
14 3/4 x 23 1/4 in. (37.5 x 59 cm)
AP 1972.20
As a rooster or cock, this long-necked bird with a red beak and wattle might allude to the episode of a rooster crowing in the Denial of Peter; as such, it would symbolize Peter’s repentance. This schematized image of a bird faces toward the viewer’s right.
Lion
Lion

Lion

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 450–62
Mosaic
42 1/2 x 76 15/16 in. (108 x 195.5 cm)
AP 1972.17
This schematized image of a ferocious lion probably came from a pavement decoration. It might represent a lion as part of a hunt scene or as a motif in a religious narrative.

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