Object: Kantharos


Replica, Kantharos with wreaths, fillets, thyrsi
Hildesheim Germany
ca. 100 CE
Materials: silver

This object is a replica of a silver kantharos found in Germany in 1868. The original was a part of a large treasure of about 50 silver pieces found by Prussian soldiers in Hildesheim, Germany. Now known as the Hildesheim Treasure, there are numerous replicas in museums. The reason such a large amount of Roman silver was buried outside of Roman territory is unclear. Many scholars have attributed the objects to a Roman general who may have buried the treasure to keep it safe. Also, dating the pieces is difficult but many are thought to date back to the 1st century C.E.

Named for its shape, the kantharos has two handles on each side. The design on the piece depicts Dionysus, who was the Greek god of wine. The design also incorporates masks, grapevines, and lion decorations, typical of items associated the cult of Dionysus. Before World War II, the original pieces of silver are in Berlin. Replicas such as this one allow students and scholars to study pieces of art that are located in far away places or no longer exist.

[Brittany Teel]

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Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.


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