Nov 12, 2009

Mirror with Engraved Scene: Man Threatening Child (Telephos and Orestes?)

Mirror with Engraved Scene: Man Threatening Child (Telephos and Orestes?)

c. 330–300 BC


Overall: 33 cm (13 in.)

Gift of Mrs. John Huntington 1920.170


Did you know?

The largely unadorned front side of this mirror would have been highly polished and reflective.


Cast in one piece, this bronze mirror features a handle terminating in a stylized deer head. The front side of the disc, once highly polished and reflective, would have served as a mirror, while the reverse—now on display—features an engraved figural scene. Best observed with the aid of a line drawing, this shows a bearded man holding a small child whom he threatens with his sword. Although it lacks inscriptions and certain expected iconographical features, this scene may represent the wounded warrior Telephos holding the young Orestes hostage as he sought a cure for an unhealing wound. The older woman kneeling at right may be the boy's nursemaid, while the nude young woman restraining the man could represent Lasa, an Etruscan nymph-like guardian figure.

See also
GR - Etruscan
Greek and Roman Art
Type of artwork: 

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