Relief with a ram’s head, AD 2nd century
12 7/8 × 15 1/4 × 6 in. (32.7 × 38.7 × 15.2 cm.)
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
A Ritual Offering
Notice the hand grasping the curly fleece on top of this ram’s head. The hand likely belonged to the figure of a man leading this ram in a procession toward an altar, where it would be sacrificed to the god Mars. This sculpture probably once formed part of a larger relief that also depicted a sacrificial pig and bull. Together these three animals formed the suovetaurilia, a ritual sacrifice made as part of a purification ceremony in ancient Rome.