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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Unknown
Culture:Roman; Imperial
Title:Lar holding an offering bowl (patera) and cornucopia
Date Made:1st-2nd century CE
Type:Sculpture
Materials:Bronze
Place Made:Europe; Italy
Measurements:Overall: 4 1/4 in x 2 3/16 in x 1 1/4 in; 10.8 cm x 5.6 cm x 3.2 cm
Accession Number:  MH 2013.31
Credit Line:Purchase with the Susan and Bernard Schilling (Susan Eisenhart, Class of 1932) Fund
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Currently on view

Description:
The protector of the Roman family standing, holding a libation bowl and cornucopia, and wearing high boots, wind-blown tunic, narrow belt, and mantle with long zigzag folds falling in front; his thick wavy hair spiraling from the crown and surmounted by a wreath.

Label Text:
Don’t let his diminutive size deceive you—ancient Romans believed that the Lares (domestic gods) had tremendous power. This statuette wears the typical billowing tunic and carries a patera (bowl for liquid offerings) and a cornucopia bursting with grapes and pinecones. Along with statuettes of various deities and other important figures he would once have stood in a lararium (household shrine), the site of a Roman family’s daily worship. Sacrifices to the Lares of figs, honey, grains, incense, and occasionally blood were thought to ensure the protection of the household. Ancient Romans believed that failure to properly honor the Lares could result in extreme retribution—including death.

-Taylor Anderson, Art Museum Adivsory Board Curatorial Fellow, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2016)

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