|ROMAN BRONZE BALSAMARIUM: HUNTING SCENES
Of broad globular form with short concave neck and offset rounded rim, the body cast in relief with animal hunting scenes, including a lion attacking a donkey, a standing bear attacking a fallen animal, a feline jumping on an antelope, a grazing stag, and two paired fleeing ox, and boars, rocky outcrops and plants in the field.
Late 2nd-early 3rd Century AD
Diam. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm; H. 3 7/8 in. (9.9 cm.)
Acquired on the Portobello Road, London, in the late 1980s; J.M.E. collection, New York, acquired in New York, June 2008.
For related examples see Claudia Braun, Römische Bronzebalsamarien mit Reliefdekor (BAR International Series 917), 2001, pls. 11 (Obernburg, Römermuseum), 18 (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris), and 19 (Rijksmuseum van Oudheiden, Leiden).
Vessels of this type are thought to have been used as oil containers by athletes. Their iconography often appears to refer to the Roman games, such as the wild beast shows and staged hunts which were held in the amphitheater.