- Material : Cornelian Shell, Enamel, Brass.
- Size: Total size 5" by 4 3/8" , the cameo only is 2 1/2" by just over 2", cameo with its enamelled frame is just over 3" by 2 3/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1840/1850 Italy.
- Conditions: Mint.
- Frame: could be gold, not tested.
More than Museum Quality Cameo depicting Dionysus (Bacchus is the Roman name), the God of Wine. His head crowned with a wreath of fruiting vines, wearing a pelt and carrying a thyrsus. Inspired by libations he looks upward in ecstasy. This is a very unusual cameo, mounted just to be displayed. These kind of cameos are very rare to find. In so many years of cameo's trade I have found only three examples. Look how the carver used the different colors of the shell to evidence the leaves, the pelt. I have never seen a Dionysus like this one. You must look at the pelt he's wearing, you can see the perfect carving that gives you just the idea of a real pelt! From all these details you can understand what I mean when I say that this one is a Museum Quality cameo! This one is with no doubt the more wonderful Dionysus I have ever handled.The brass frame is superbly chiselled. The pattern is formed by all fruiting vines, matching the symbolic vines which are on the head of Dionysus. Even the stand on the back is chiselled in the same way. This is an incredible work of art, very detailed cameo, carved by an artist. Frame could be gold, it has been not tested to avoid to damage the enamel. Rarest cameo very desirable collectors' piece.
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.