Head of Priapus or Bacchus on a modern herm



Male head, representing the god Bacchus or Priapus according to Ashmole. There are ivy and vine leaves at the crown of the head which place the head in the Bacchic circle and in the Archaistic style. The head is almost entirely covered by the hair, the forehead and the temples overhung. There is a flat and ponytail at the back of the hair and two side locks, a thin plait wounds into a decorative knot at the centre.The eyes are narrow and almond shaped and the lids are well defined and a high arching brow. The mouth has the typical Archaic smile. The moustache is symmetrically arched and connected to the beard which is like a ribbon. The hair of the moustache are less plastically rendered and symmetrically combed from the centre divided into bands that are defined by the chisel. There are several equivalents of this head that have been identified as Priapus such as the ones in Palazzo dei Conservatori or the Villa Albani one . Bartman noted that the Ince head may be similar in iconography, the hair in the Ince piece are less archaistic and perhaps later than the Augustan period. Such heads have been found in private villas such as the Papiri in the Herculaneum and in houses in the Pompeii and were popular for the decoration of villas. The herm is a work of restorer possibly the same one as 59.148.129 but the reference may have just been a marketing ploy as there is no evidence that they were positioned together in a Roman villa.