Roman Parcel Gild Silver Fluted Bowl, Circa 3rd Century AD
Bowls and dishes ornamented with central relief emblemata or medallions have been known since the early Hellenistic period. In Roman times these ‘show pieces’ were an indication of a family’s wealth and status and would have been proudly displayed, the high relief decoration making practical use impossible. Such pieces would have been passed down as family heirlooms, treasured and collected. Complete bowls are rare but detached emblemata have been found all over the Hellenistic and Roman world.
The bowl had 32 deep flutes, with scalloped rim gilt, the interior with silver gilt tondo joined to the interior by six rivets, decorated with the raised repoussé head of a frontally facing satyr wearing foliate ivy wreath with berries, small horns on his forehead emerging through his wavy hair, with detailed eyes and long lashes, his brows knitted together with frown lines on his forehead, his lips parted in a grimace, bordered with two pecking birds below and ivy leaf tendrils running up the sides, and a wave pattern above his head and under his chin, the bowl on raised ring foot with rounded edges, incised concentric circles and an ownership inscription in Graeco-B.