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Ariadne, maenad, satyr and cupids

Most likely a decorative element of a piece of furniture, this elephant ivory statuette made in Constantinople in the early 6th century was found in a tomb in the Rhine valley, with two lion heads in rock crystal.

Sculpted in haut-relief, it depicts Ariadne, a mythological figure associated with Bacchus, dressed in a soft and flowing tunic draped so as to reveal a breast. The eyes were once inlaid with glass beads.

Bacchus’ companion, crowned by two “cupids”, is flanked by two figures that often accompany here in representations of Dionysian processions: a satyr and a maenad playing cymbals.

Former Du Sommerard archive

Inventory no.: Cl. 455
Height: 40 cm
Width: 14 cm
Depth: 7.5 cm
Periods: 1st quarter of the 6th century; 2nd quarter of the 6th century
Techniques: haut-relief, inlay