A Roman marble statue of Harpocrates
Lot 86TP
A Roman marble statue of Harpocrates
Sold for £ 50,000 (US$ 65,235) inc. premium

Antiquities

5 Jul 2018, 10:30 BST

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
A Roman marble statue of Harpocrates A Roman marble statue of Harpocrates
A Roman marble statue of Harpocrates
Circa 1st-2nd Century A.D.
Nude save for a short chlamys fastened at his right shoulder, standing with his weight on his right leg, the left leg bent and advanced, the right arm bent at the elbow with the fingers held towards the face, a cornucopia resting on his left arm, a tree-trunk supporting his weight at the left, the hair gathered in a topknot and falling in tight curls around his face, with large lidded eyes and full lips, slightly open, with 18th Century restorations to the body and the cornucopia, the number '19' carved onto the base, 135cm high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection, UK, acquired prior to 1981, in the 1970s.

    Harpocrates, a god of Egyptian origin, was quickly assimilated into the Roman pantheon along with other "Oriental" divinities such as Isis. The son of Isis and Osiris, he was most frequently represented as a chubby infant or young man with his finger to his mouth. While this gesture was meant to signify youth in Egyptian culture, it was misinterpreted by the Romans as an invitation or sign of silence (see Ovid, Meta., 9.688ff).

    There are numerous representations of this god in different media, especially terracotta and bronze. The present lot belongs to a type of which an example can be found in the Museo Nazionale Romano, acc. no. 72854, found in a villa on the via Tiburtina near Settecamini, Museo Nazionale Romano. Le sculture, vol I.2, p.291, no. 12. Another similar Harpocrates, differing from the present lot by resting his weight on his left leg and for the lack of the chlamys, was found at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, and is now in the Musei Capitolini, acc. no. MC0646.

    The restorations to this piece, along with the number '19' carved onto the top of the base of the statue, suggest that it was once part of an 18th Century collection.
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  1. Serena Zaccaron
    Auction administration - Antiquities
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8332
  2. Francesca Hickin
    Specialist - Antiquities
    Bonhams
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    Work +44 20 7468 8226
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