Statuette of a silenus.
Etruscan, 500 BC-475 BC
Bronze. 6,5 cm
Inventory number: H2008
The horse’s ears, the fragmented tail and the erected member characterize the figure as a Silenus, a creature from the retinue of the god of wine, Dionysos. The lower part of the statuette’s legs is missing, why it is uncertain how the figure was fixed. There are, however, strong indications that it might have served as the top piece of a candelabrum or an incense burner.
Candelabra and incense burners were for instance used at banquets and symposia, where scenes with Dionysos and his train of Sileni and nymphs were popular themes. As the top piece, the Silenus would therefore have been a well chosen motif promoting the god of wine’s proclamation of the blessing of intoxication.