Wine Cup with Scenes of Bacchus and His Consort, Ariadne
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Roman, Rome, 25 B.C. - A.D. 25
Cameo glass
4 1/8 x 6 15/16 x 4 3/16 in.

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Sensual, Bacchic imagery decorates this cameo glass skyphos or cup. On one side a woman, perhaps Bacchus' wife Ariadne, partially reclines on a seat, attended by a servant and watched by a satyr holding pan-pipes. The other side shows a similar scene with a satyr playing a lyre between a seated woman and a woman drinking wine. Beneath each handle is a mask of a Papposilenos, an elderly satyr.

Cameo glass was very rare due to the time and labor involved in its creation. Colored glass, in this instance blue, was covered, or cased, with opaque white glass. The white layer was partially cut away to reveal the colored background, and the white areas were then carved in relief. The technique was practiced almost exclusively in the early Roman Empire. The foot of the skyphos is a modern restoration.

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