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Roman
Relief with a ram's head, 2nd century A.D., marble.
Gift of Karen Giles Hovey, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Kulp, Jr., Mr. William I. Winchester, Mr. and Mrs. Barry Bingham Jr., Mrs. J. Byron Hilliard, John and Mary Louise Barr, Mr. and Mrs. Allen D. Angell, Dr. Charles and Lisa Barr, Ms.Anne B. Ogden, and Mr. and Mrs. Philip Ardery 1993.7

Rams’ heads were a common feature in Roman art. They were often used as decorative corners on sculptural reliefs and could be found on cinerary urns, altars and sarcophagi. This ram’s head appears to have been carved in high relief and was likely part of a narrative frieze. The presence of a left hand gripping the top of the head indicates that this is a fragment of a larger work, and the back of the sculpture lets us know that it was not intended to been seen in the round. The narrative may have been mythological in nature, or possibly ritualistic, depicting a sacrificial procession in which the lamb would have been an offering to the gods. The delicate working and classical style are reminiscent of some of the most important works of the period.

 

 

 
 
 


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