Lot 98: Roman Janiform Herm Fragment
December 6, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 1st century BC-1st century AD. The upper part of a janiform marble statue or herm with wavy hair held in place by a fillet to the brow, deeply sculpted ears; possibly depicting a younger and older Hermes or Bacchus. 3.3 kg, 17.5cm (6 3/4"). Ex V.C. Vecchi and Sons Ltd., Great Smith Street, London, 1971-1985. The term 'janiform' derives from the Roman divinity Janus, the god of doors and openings, who is usually depicted with two faces back to back. Free standing herms served many functions, from religious to decorative. Portrait herms depicting the heads of statesmen, philosophers and poets were used as garden ornaments and set up in rows or enshrined in niches. One of the most popular herms was that of Bacchus, god of wine, fertility, the theatre and the life force in nature. The hairstyle on the heads of this herm recall archaistic models harking back to ancient Greek sculptures that were popular in the Roman period.
Condition Report: Fine condition.