Fulcra in the Form of a Mule's Head

11008401-2003_011_003_Jpa_ARC.tif

Title

Fulcra in the Form of a Mule's Head

Date

1st Century BC

Context

Hellenistic
Greek

Medium/Dimensions

Bronze, silver, copper
5 x 7 x 2 5/8 in. (12.7 x 17.8 x 6.7 cm)

Object Number

2003.011.003

Description

More elaborate couches and beds were sometimes made not of wood but of bronze, even silver or ivory.

The edges of their head and foot boards were often made in three parts: the fulcrum proper, to which could be added one or two decorative appliqués using a variety of subjects. Most of these, appropriately, were Dionysiac.

These two cast appliqués take the form of mules' heads, or protomes. Nostrils flaring and eyes (inlaid in silver) wide open, these turn outward toward the viewer. One of them has a vine wreathed around its head, the other a ribbon, with silver and copper inlay. A saddlecloth made from a feline skin has been thrown over the back and turned down, revealing a lining with decorative borders of spirals and meanders inlaid in silver and copper. The individual who reclined on the couch would be borne, as it were, on the back of a mule, thereby becoming a participant in a Dionysiac procession (thiasos).

Similar in modeling and in patination, the two protomes differ in size and in details, suggesting that they may come from a pair of couches. They were intended for the outer ends of the fulcra: at the other end, they may well have been balanced by roundels in the form of satyr or maenad heads. The large holes in the necks suggest some form of secondary use in antiquity.

Credit Line

Carlos Collection of Ancient Art

Exhibits/Publications

MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - September 15, 2014|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 29, 2014 - Present
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2003.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 52.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

Yes

Citation

“Fulcra in the Form of a Mule's Head,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 16, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7690.

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