- Material: Sardonyx Shell.
- Size: 2" by 1 5/8".
- Date and origin: Circa 1850 Italy. Original fitted case.
- Conditions: Immaculate.
Museum Quality cameo depicting a Bacchante in front face, a rare subject as cameos depicting front face figures are not so common. Bacchantes were followers of Bacchus the God of wine (Dionysus is the Greek name). This one has a magnificent three-dimensional carving that appears like a sculpture. This is a very detailed cameo, crisply carved. Her head is crowned by the famous Bacchantes symbols, bunches of grapes and and grape leaves. Everything perfectly rendered.Her curly detailed hair lean sotly on her shoulders. Her perfect oval face is more than finely carved, she's looking upwards and seems in ecstasy. Her face is very pretty and her faciale features perfect like her nose straight and long, her mouth gently curved as she's smiling. Her eyes are so expressive and look at how they are carved, fabulous. She's also wearing a bead necklace and one of teh Bacchante symbols, the panther pelt, is leaning on her shoulder. Look at the magnificent pictures which are able to catch this subject in all of its beauty. This subject is really amazing. I rarely have seen a so pretty Bacchante carved in front face. This is an absolute beauty, a perfect cameo carved with so much skill by a true artist. This cameo is in its own original fitted case which is in perfect condition like the cameo. This is a rare subject masterly executed, another Museum Quality cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, not to be missed.
A bit of history:
In Greek mythology, maenads (Bacchantes
) were the female followers of Dionysus, the most significant members of the Thiasus, the retinue of Dionysus. The maenads were also known as Bacchae or Bacchantes in Roman mythology, after the penchant of the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus, to wear a fox-skin. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a cluster of leaves; they would weave ivy-wreaths and fruiting vines around their heads, and often handle or wear snakes.