The description in the case alongside this remarkable artefact tells us that it is an ...
Found in 1916 in the yard of a house in Mérida, next to a glass unguentarium and a fragment of funerary inscription. Has seared a front face representation of a Silenus, whose mouth is the vessel, serving as handles are his ears.
(On loan from National Archaeological Museum (Madrid))
A famous story relates how Midas made Silenus drunk in order to learn his secrets. In Virgil, Eclogue 6, Silenus is caught by two shepherds and sings them songs of ancient myths. He is sometimes represented as Dionysus' tutor, or depicted in the train of Dionysus, making music or getting drunk.
Socrates was often compared with Silenus, and likenesses of the former are remarkably similar to ancient portrait heads of the latter. But the comparison was meant to include not only physical appearance but a common incongruity between outward appearance and inner wisdom.
And that's all I can find out for now.
Irrespective of whose face is carved on this, I think this is a beautiful piece of work that demonstrates astonishing craftsmanship. I can imagine it being quite a precious, and probably very expensive, thing to own.
If you'd like to know more about this amazing Museum and some of its' priceless and awe-inspiring exhibits please take a look the text accompanying other pictures I've uploaded, they can be found - here -.
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