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Greco-Roman Hellenistic Bronze Bust of a Bald Grotesque

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Roman: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1308509
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This rare piece is a Greco-Roman bronze bust of a bald grotesque figurine that dates to the late Hellenistic Period, circa 1st century B.C.-1st century A.D. This piece is approximately 1 inch high, and is a superb example with a nice even dark green patina. This piece was likely a bottle stopper and/or may have fitted into a long-necked glass or bronze vessel. The bottom of the stem appears to have been broken, and this piece may have had a longer stem that could have extended down into the vessel. This piece may also have had gold or silver gilt, and may possibly have been a garment or hair pin. Regardless of what this piece could have been, it was certainly made to have been seen, and the bald head and deformed features of this "grotesque bust" is very noticeable. This interesting piece has ears that are lop-sided, with one higher than the other, deep sunken eyes, and a very a very large nose. This portrait may also represent an actual individual that was born with these deformities, and may have been created to represent an actual person rather than a fantasy individual. It is also possible that this deformed person may have been the subject of a play, and may have represented a type of actor. An analogous piece with a near identical portrait, and described as a "Dancing Grotesque of Mine", is seen in "Master Bronzes from the Classical World", by Mittien and Doeringer, Fogg Art Museum Pub., 1968, no. 122. (This published piece has an identical portrait as the piece offered here, and is bald except for a lock at the crown. This near nude figurine is also posed in a vigorous dance, and is a dancer that likely held castanet-like clappers. This piece is also described as having "contorted contours and exaggerated features which embody the Hellenistic love of caricature", and is "allegedly from Alexandria". See attached photo.) The portrait seen on this published piece, and the piece offered here is nearly identical, and both pieces were likely produced in an Alexandrian workshop. The rare piece offered here also sits on the custom display stand and can easily be removed. Ex: Joel Malter collection, Los Angeles, CA., circa 1980's. Ex: Private CA. collection. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: