- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested.
- Size: 2 1/8" by 1 5/8", only cameo is 1 6/8" by 1 2/8".
- Date and Origin: Italy circa 1880, frame is probably English.
- Conditions: Mint.
More than Museum Quality cameo depicting a young Dionysus. The carving is more than superb and full of stunning details. Grapes, which is the main symbol of the God, is present everywhere, also the Thyrsus and the panther pelt, other two symbols of Dionysus, are present. This is a three-dimensional cameo and the carver was so skill to use all the depth of the shell to make a jump-out figure. Look at the panther pelt, it is stretched to make a background like a chair back, the four tied knots are just the four panther paws. More they are tied to a grapevine, this cameo is a muddle of entwined symbols, even phisycally entwined, as I have never seen until now. The face of the young God is so pretty and soft, and have you looked at his so sweet and fat leg and foot? This cameo is just incredible, a piece to not to miss. One of the most beautiful cameos I have ever seen. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
Bacchus (Dionysus for the Greeks) was the God of Wine, of the joyful voluptuousness of drinking and of the sensuality to which the Italics attributed at the end the uses and the rites of the corresponding Greek God Dionysus. He's the God of the vices, his cult (Bacchanalian) arrived in the Italian Peninsula in the 2nd century B.C. The symbol of this divinity, other than the grapevine and the climbing ivy, was the thyrsus, a stick surmounted by an ivy tangle. On a side his aspect was always the one of a very handsome youth with a curly head and crowned by vine-leaf and grapevines. He was a jolly, smiling God and symbol of the rejoicing and of the richness of the nature, on the other side tied up to dark rites and sometime wild. Son of Zeus and Semele, a mortal woman, that following the perfidious counsel of the jealous Hera, was burnt down for having looked at the face of her lover, Zeus, in all of his splendour, thing not permitted to the mortals. Zeus, to save Dionysus, took to the end the pregnancy of his sons sewing him in a thigh of his then he brought him to Nysa where the Nymphs fed him with honey (the wet nurses Nymphs became later the stars of the Ladi constellation). During the Dionysian festivals usually was sacrificed a goat with a chorals and speeches exchanged between the priests. To this aspect of that ritual the Greek Tragedy can be originated as the Greek thinkers believe, Tragedy destined, in the Classic Greece, to become one of the highest and most complete form of poetry.