Handle with satyr

Handle from a bronze recipient, which is worked in the form of an upright satyr. Given the length of the handle, it was probably from an oenochoe. The satyr is depicted naked with the head and shoulders turned to the right. The unmistakable characteristics of a satyr can be clearly appreciated: short, wavy hair and pointy ears. The right arm is motionless while the left one is bent and the hand is holding a bunch of grapes, also an unequivocal characteristic of satyrs.

The satyr is standing on a round globe which, in turn, is resting on the effigy of a Medusa. She has a penetrating expression on her face, and has wavy locks representing the snakes which are characteristic of her hair. The Medusa is a female monster of the underworld belonging to Greco-Roman mythology. She turned those who stared into her eyes into stone. She was beheaded by Perseus, who used her head as a weapon until he gave it as a votive gift to the goddess Athena so that she could place it on her shield.

Satyrs were male creatures in Greek mythology who accompanied Pan and Dionysus, roaming around the woods and mountains. They are associated with sexual appetite. The painters of ceramic vases often depicted them alongside nymphs and maenads, sometimes with perpetual erections.

An oenochoe is a type of Greek vessel widely used in antiquity. As its name indicates “oinos” (wine) and “choes” (jug), it is a recipient which was used to pour wine. This was taken out of a krater, where it had previously been diluted with water and then served into a kylix, or in Roman times, into cups for its consumption.

The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out from expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To remove the final piece the mould must be removed.

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