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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Antiquities  |  Ancient Glass  |  Topic: Mosaic Glass Apis Bull Caesarea Maritima 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Mosaic Glass Apis Bull Caesarea Maritima  (Read 334 times)
v-drome
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« on: October 21, 2018, 05:55:05 pm »

Hi, all.  Here is a beautiful piece of mosaic glass
from Caesarea Maritima.  Any information would
be appreciated.

BCC cg15
Mosaic Glass - Apis Bull
Uncertain date
Obv: Apis Bull with Mushroom?
and Egyptian crown.
Surface find from the beach near
Caesarea Maritima, 1973.
1.8cm. in length.  3 pieces found in
close proximity. Top surface is slightly
convex, lower surface flat and slightly
less polished.  The object has been severely
eroded, possibly due to exposure to slightly
acidic rainfall.  Comments on the type and
age are certainly welcome.  Small coins
from 1st-2nd century CE, Alexandria, as well as
minimae with Alexandrian types, were commonly
found at Caesarea.

(click for larger pic)
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Molinari
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2018, 06:11:27 pm »

Looks distinctly like a human eye and nose.  This is a fascinating piece—is it yours?
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v-drome
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 06:26:47 pm »

Hi Molinari.  Here is another photo.  I think the "nose" may be a pit left from the dissolving minerals in the glass.  I found some very close parallels searching for Apis Bull, Egyptian mosaic glass inlay.  This is part of my father's collection of surface finds from the beach near Caesarea in the 1960's and 1970's.

Best regards, Jimi

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Robert L3
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2018, 07:40:56 pm »

You probably came across these examples already, v-drome:

Very similar example at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: https://www.vmfa.museum/piction/6027262-15465744/
(Too bad about the VMFA graphics overlay)

Somewhat similar at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/inlay-of-an-apis-bull-164316

Others - related, it seems, although not as similar as the VMFA example above:
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21925/lot/269/

https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/an-egyptian-glass-inlay-ptolemaic-period--5425321-details.aspx


Here's a side-by-side of the OP example with the VMFA one, from their search page (without the graphics on top)...I could certainly believe these are from the same ancient workshop.

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v-drome
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2018, 09:08:21 pm »

Thank you, Robert.  Those are beautiful examples.  I have not yet found any reference to help identify the object in front of the bull.  Is this a mushroom or perhaps some kind of plant?  It seems that whatever was used for the black in the design was dissolved away, over time.  It must have been very beautiful when it was new!

Regards, Jimi
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Molinari
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 05:30:31 am »

Hi Molinari.  Here is another photo.  I think the "nose" may be a pit left from the dissolving minerals in the glass.  I found some very close parallels searching for Apis Bull, Egyptian mosaic glass inlay.  This is part of my father's collection of surface finds from the beach near Caesarea in the 1960's and 1970's.

Best regards, Jimi



Ah, I see.  So a regular, bovine-faced Apis bull after all.
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Molinari
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2018, 07:32:22 am »

I think a chalice with something inside, not a mushroom.  
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JBF
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2018, 01:54:22 pm »

Robert Wasson did research on 'magic' mushrooms, their use and role in non-western and ancient cultures.  There are some things that look like mushrooms at Eleusis.  Of course, mushrooms don't look like much, so there is room for skepticism of such artistic depictions.  Ancients almost definitely imbibed in more drugs than just wine and beer, but i think that it is accurate that our cultural bias (for certain recreational drugs and against other) biases research against looking into such things as mushrooms or the use of ergot (not 'straight' though), certain vines or ivy also have such affects.  Dionysus is the god of vines and ivy.  On the other hand, some people are enthused by the idea of ancient precedents to their own recreational drug use with a little new age mysticism thrown in.  Considering that Eleusis and Dionysus, and Apis are old age mysticism, it is not surprising that modern mystics and poets (Robert Graves) see affinity between the two.

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v-drome
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2018, 09:01:41 pm »

Hi, Molinari and JBF.  Thank you for your comments.  I am thinking now that the object in front of the bull may be some kind of table or altar with an offering.  I did not realize how rare these were.  Also, to Nick, the man-faced bull type was unknown to me before I joined Forum.  The mythology is very interesting, and I appreciate your work on the subject.

Best regards to all, Jimi

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JBF
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2018, 01:18:25 pm »

In Greece, a sacrificial bull would be fed grain on an altar or table so that the bull would bend over and "nod" when eating it, thus giving his assent to being sacrificed.  Of course, Apis is not a sacrificial bull.  It looks like there is some kind of headdress on the bull, is that why you think it is Apis?  I don't know how much worship of Apis extended beyond Egypt.  You have an interesting piece there.

Do you know the museum piece's provenance and information around its find?
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n.igma
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2018, 01:47:44 pm »

Explanation of headdress .... https://www.ancient.eu/Apis/

Apis is depicted throughout Egypt's history as a striding bull, usually with a solar disc and uraeus (the sacred serpent which symbolized the king's power) between its horns.  


This article also explains the attributes of the Apis bull, which is what we see on the flank of the bull as represented on the glass.

The bull was selected, after a careful search, based upon its appearance: it had to be black with a white triangular marking on its forehead, another white marking on its back in the shape of a hawk's or vulture's wings, a white crescent on its side, a separation of the hairs at the end of its tail, (known as the "double hairs") and a lump under its tongue in the shape of a scarab. If a bull were found with all of these characteristics, it was instantly recognized as Apis, of course, but even a few or one would suffice. A white marking in the shape of a triangle on the forehead and the scarab-shaped lump under the tongue were often enough for the bull to be chosen.

I think the "mushroom" is a representation of a form of tripod, in the the bowl of which is a pile of grain, an offering (i.e. feed) for the god (i.e. the Apis bull).

What an amazing find. It suggests that the cult of the Apis bull may have extended some distance beyond the borders of 1st century Egypyt, or that a practitioner of the cult visited Caesarea.
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2018, 04:20:48 pm »

Hi all,
     I believe the mushroom is a tripod containing an offering to the god, namely food of some kind. There is a remarkable chance that your slab was cut from the same rod as was the Virginia example. After the numerous cames/rods of narrow gas were arranged, bound, fired, fused and stretched, a rod of glass containing the image was produced, then sliced much like our cold cuts are sliced in a deli. Sometimes, stresses build up in the glass, because parts of it were not properly annealed. In your example, the break/chip on the lower half is not random, but caused by centuries in sea water working with the stresses in the glass. Absolutely fascinating, thanks for sharing!
     An excellent book, is: Stern, E.M. & Schlick-Nolte, B. Early Glass of the Ancient World, 1600B.C. - 50 A.D., Ernesto Wolf Collection, 1994.
Russ
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