Fragment of a cornice

A fine, irregular-shaped fragment in marble that formed part of the cornice of a temple or chapel. The carving indicates that it is from Roman times but with a clear Phoenician and oriental influence.

The frieze has five horizontal registers that mix figurative decoration with geometric. The upper one has a floral decoration around the lotus and papyrus, the heraldic plants of Ancient Egypt, carved in high relief. Related to the culture of the Nile, the second line exhibits three faces of the Egyptian god Bes. This god, an almost grotesque dwarf, protector of infancy, was very widely present in the entire Mediterranean. Representations in the form of amulets, small sculptures and reliefs are found in Greece, Italy, the Balearics, and down to the south of the Iberian Peninsula. The next register has a geometric decoration in pronounced high relief. The next one below is a carved vegetal garland. The lowest one has faces that appear to be of rodents carved on it.

The decoration, centred on vegetal elements from the east, indicates that this piece formed part of a private architectural structure, possibly a small temple or chapel.

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