Etruscan Bronze Cista Handle of an Acrobat

GBP 2,250.00

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Object Description

An Etruscan cista handle cast in bronze in the shape of a nude male youth, portrayed doing an arched back-bend, with his feet together and head tilted back. The acrobat is show with naturalistically detailed facial features and hair, rendered through incised lines. The flattened hands and feet hold the attachments pins, one now missing. The handle would have been originally part of a cista, a cylindrical lidded container for women cosmetics and toiletries, such as hairpins and strigils. Cistae have been largely recovered from Etruscan tombs of wealthy women.

The Etruscans were renewed as bronze-workers, adept especially in working small bronze figures which would have served as votive offerings, or, such is this case, as vessel’s handles. Bronze vessels and everyday artefacts have been largely recovered in Etruscan graves, displaying great stylistic and iconographic influences from Greek artistic production. Cista handles were usually modelled in the shape of three figures, such as pair of mythological figures or wrestlers, rather than single figures, making this example a rare find. Athletes and acrobats occur frequently in Etruscan wall paintings, sculptures and pottery, portrayed firmly with bent legs and arched bodies.

Date: Circa 5th-4th Century BC

Object Literature

Reference: For a similar item, The RISD Museum, item 85.107.1.

Object Condition

Condition: Extremely fine, one attachment pin missing. The piece has been mounted on a custom-made wooden stand.

Object Details

  • material
  • dimensions
    W:6.5 x centimeters

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)208 364 4565
+44 (0)7833231322

Dealer Location

The Gallery
Trent Park Equestrian Centre
Eastpole Farm House, Bramley Road
Oakwood, N14 4UW, United Kingdom

St James's Ancient Art
10 Charles II Street, Ground Floor
St James

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