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Roman Bronze Lidded Pyxis - Pegasus & Lions

Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 4th century CE. A cast bronze pyxis depicting scenes of fantastical animals in low relief. Chasing around its lid are a rabbit and two pegasi; around the exterior base is a scene of lions hunting deer. The interior is smooth and the pyxis stands on a round foot. A hinge and a fitted clasp project upwards from the wide rim. The lid has a handle terminating in a tiny, round loop for suspension. Size: 3.05" W x 2.25" H (7.7 cm x 5.7 cm)

The pyxis form is found throughout the ancient Near East and the Classical world: a rounded vessel with small fitted lid, originally made to hold cosmetics, trinkets, or jewelry. Later Christian examples were made to hold the Host. This example is clearly from a pre-Christian time - replete with symbols full of meaning for the Romans, like the hunting prowess and power of the lion and the Olympian connections of the Pegasus.

Condition: Hinge is missing its pin and the lid seems to have lost its attachment to the hinge. Otherwise intact, with dark patina.

Provenance: Ex-Private East Coast, USA Collection

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