Miniatureportræt af en mand. Romersk CC0

Miniature portrait of a man.
Roman, 2nd century

Silver. 6,4 cm
Inventory number: H1951

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The small silver head represents a figure with curly hair and a full beard and with eyes looking upwards. The curve of the neck and the modest engraving on the back of the head suggest that it derives from a bust that was originally placed in a circular frame. So it is what is known as a tondo portrait, which was presumably mounted in a flat silver dish. One of the places where dishes with this kind of decoration are found is Boscoreale near Pompeii. The silver head was long thought to be a portrait of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161). This interpretation was due to a certain similarity in facial features, but there are nevertheless significant differences in the facial form and in the treatment of hair and beard. The head is today thought to be a portrait of an unknown member of the Roman upper classes. This silver head can stylistically be dated to the first half of the first century AD.