Lot 67: Roman Isis Fortuna Mounts
December 6, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 1st-3rd century AD. A pair of cast bronze busts, probably from a chariot, each with Isis Fortuna modelled in the round, with piled hair and crossover robe; each with inset silver eyes, loop to the rear of the head, octagonal plaque with notched edges; one with ovoid panels beneath the bust, remains of ferrous spike to the reverse, the other with lead fill and spike. See Witt, R.E. Isis in the Ancient World, London, 1997, for a discussion on the cult of Isis in the Greek and Roman world. 875 grams total, 98mm (4"). Property of a Surrey collector; acquired in the early 1970s. Fittings such as these are often termed chariot fittings, but they could also be decorative elements for litters used to carry the wealthy through the streets. Similar fittings have been found at Pompeii and Rome associated with with couches and beds. Another theory for their use is as fittings for biers or carts used in religious processions. There are reliefs and paintings from across the Empire that show such processions, and the famous Roman novel 'The Golden Ass' by Lucius Apuleius, provides literary evidence of such processions in honour of the goddess Isis. The statue of the goddess was taken from the temple and processed through the streets with great pomp and ceremony on an elaborate bier or cart by the priests and devotees to the accompaniment of music and prayers. 
Condition Report: Very fine condition.