- Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15K gold tested .
- Size: just over 2 1/2" by just over 2 1/8"
- Date and Origin: Circa 1850/1860 Italy, frame could be English.
- Conditions: A couple of hairlines by origin only noticeable when the cameo is held up to the light, a couple of tiniest loss on the gold wirework not noticeable by naked eye, a tiniest chip probably by origin on her cheek not noticeable by naked eye.
More than Museum Quality and huge cameo depicting a Bacchante. They were followers of Bacchus the God of wine (Dionysus is the Greek name). Bunches of grapes and wine leaves in her hair. Look how the carver used the shell to evidence her face, the wine leaves and the grapes and the clothes. This subject seems to jump out from the shell, everything is so realistic, the leaves and the bunch of grapes appear just to be put like a cascade on her hair, this cameo seems just like a sculpture. This is one of most beautiful Bacchante I have ever seen, the pictures speak by themselves. The frame is spectacular too, so elaborate and wonderful. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
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.