34 in. (1.9 cm.) long
Said to be in the collection of the Tiepolo Museum, Venice.
Bertholdy Collection, Rome, by 1847.
Giorgio Sangiorgi (1886-1965), Rome, acquired and brought to Switzerland, late 1930s; thence by continuous descent to the current owner.
F. Lajard, Introduction à l'étude du culte public et des mystères de Mithra en Orient et en Occident, Paris, 1847, p. 14, no. 1, pl. 46.
A. Furtwängler, Die antiken Gemmen, Leipzig, 1900, vol. 1, pl. 8, no. 42; vol. 2, p. 40, no. 42.
G. Lippold, Gemmen und Kameen des Altertums und der Neuzeit, Stuttgart, 1922, p. 170, pl. 13.9.
J. Boardman, Archaic Greek Gems, Evanston, 1968, p. 108, no. 328, pl. 23.
J. Boardman and C. Wagner, Masterpieces in Miniature: Engraved Gems from Prehistory to the Present, London, 2018, p. 28, no. 21.
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Lot Essay

The beetle is simply rendered with no carination to the back. The underside is engraved with an ithyphallic bearded satyr, his face turned frontal, driving a war chariot pulled by two lions. The satyr prods the lions with a stick, one of which turns back its head. The scene is enclosed within a hatched border.

As Boardman and Wagner inform (op. cit.), this is “a very spirited and unique scene. Lion-chariots are associated with Dionysos and we may imagine that here the satyr is supporting his master in the God’s war against the Giants. The bristling lions are typically Late Archaic in style, as is the face and pronounced musculature of the satyr.”

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Masterpieces in Miniature: Ancient Engraved Gems formerly in the G. Sangiorgi Collection Part II
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