Statue of Serapis with Cerberus


About this object

Statuette of the god Serapis in a throne with Cerberus, his three-headed dog. He is similar to many other statues, derived from the cult statue of Serapis from Alexandria, and attributed to 3rd century BC sculptor, Bryaxis. Such typical features include the frontal pose, the left arm raised and right outstretched, the costume of the sleeved chiton, the himation and the sandals, the large face with the beard, the long hair, the arrangement of hair on the forehead, and the modius ( grain measure ) on his head. The three headed dog Cerberus is also similar to the typology attributed to the Bryaxis statue. The god has the character of an oracle as symbolised by its open mouth. The statue was probably intended for a private setting, a domestic shrine and many similar ones have been found in Rome. The base with the overhanging lip would make it easy to display in a domestic setting. Serapis was a god associated with healing and death and had a strong personal appeal. Blundell identified the statue as Pluto because of the presence of Cerberus.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    890 mm x 480 mm x 540 mm x 248.5 kg
  • Note
    Hornbosei identified 2 groups of Serapis images reproducing the Alexandrian original, their differences mainly in the hairstyle. Bartman believed that the Ince piece belongs to the second type of Fransentypus with corkscrew curls across the forehead. This type was dominant in the Roman Imperial period. Bartman commented that Blundell may have been unaware of the Egyptian nature of the work even though he did have in his collection an altar with Serapis and Isis as well as Jupiter Ammon and nilometer. Fragments of the sceptre and hand kept in E2 Sculpture Cabinet, shelf f.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

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    Date: 2017
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Previous owners

  • Joseph William Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
Object view = Humanities
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