Outstanding Hard Stone Cameo of a Front Face Bacchante
  • Material: Hard stone, gold, marked, to be tested because hallmarks are almost illegible.
  • Size: 2" by 1 5/8"
  • Date and Origin:  Circa 1870, Original fitted case.
  • Conditions: Hard stone Immaculate, a few minimal losses on the black enamel.

This is an outstanding and gorgeous Museum Quality cameo depicting a front face Bacchante. The carving on this cameo is really more than superb, A three-dimensional carving who evidences the magnificent beauty of the subject. The Bacchante really jumps out from the background, the stone is a two layers one, black for the background and white for the carving. Her pose is a three quarter one but her face is completely turned to the front making her pose and her nude shoulder extremely feminine and sensual. She’s very pretty and has curly long hair embellished with vine leaves, she’s wearing a fluent robe fixed on her shoulder. The frame is another work of art, chiselled gold which makes this cameo even more precious and rare. A piece who really would deserve to be displayed in a Museum. Another great treat for cameos collectors.

A bit of history:
In Greek mythology, maenads (Bacchantes) were the female followers of Dionysus, the most significant members of the Thiasus, the retinue of Dionysus. The maenads were also known as Bacchae or Bacchantes in Roman mythology, after the penchant of the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus, to wear a fox-skin. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a cluster of leaves; they would weave ivy-wreaths and fruiting vines around their heads, and often handle or wear snakes.