Sculpture of a priest

Magnificent solid bronze votive figure of a young standing male, probably a priest. He is wearing a himation, a wide mantle covering his left shoulder and arm, falling down over his naked chest to the right side of his hips and then covering his legs. Unlike the chlamys, this garment is not held with a pin or tie. The ankles and feet are uncovered, so we see that the figure has no footwear of any kind.

The man is holding a patera or phiale in his right hand. This has a pronounced omphalos in the centre. It was a shallow ceramic or metal bowl for a libation, a ritual pouring of a liquid as an offering to a deity. He would be holding a circular box of incense in his left hand. However, this element is now missing. His head is adorned with a diadem, generally referred to as a radiate stephane and usually interpreted as a wreath of ivy leaves or berries.

The statue has a flattened form, a pose and anatomy which was directly influenced by the Greek-Hellenistic style. The hair is long and wavy, and the face beautifully expressive. Apart from the evident sculptural quality of the face, the most important factor of the piece is its size. There are many small statues of priest making offerings, which are usually between ten and fifteen centimetres, but very few are conserved of the size of this example.


- Votive figure. Bronze. 2nd to 1st century BC. Height 26.67 cm. British Museum, London. Inv. 1955,0501.1.
- Priest. Bronze. 2nd century BC. Height 33 cm. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Inv. 54.1088.


- MACINTOSH TURFA, J. “Votive Offerings in Etruscan Religion". Nancy Thomson de Grummond - Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans (Sixth Langford Conference Proceedings). University of Texas Press. Austin. 2006.
- HAYNES, S. The Bronze Priests and Priestesses from Nemi. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäogischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung, 67. 1960. pp. 34 - 47.
- MAETZKE, G. Per un Corpus dei Bronzetti Etruschi. La Collezione del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Chiusi. Studi Etruschi 25. 1957.
- TURFA, J. M. Catalogue of the Etruscan Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Philadelphia. 2005. pp. 45 – 48.
- WALTERS, H.B. Catalogue of the Bronzes, Greek, Roman and Etruscan in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. British Museum. London. 1899.
- WARDEN, P. G. The Hilprecht Collection of Greek, Italic, and Roman Bronzes in the University of Pennsylvania Museum. University Museum Monographs, 98. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 1997. p. 20.
- Mysteries of Diana: The Antiquities from Nemi in Nottingham Museums. Nottingham, Castle Museum. 1983. pp. 54 - 55.

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