Votive plaque, enthroned Pluto (?)

2nd century CE
more object details

General Description

The silver and copper ex-voto in the form of a leaf or feather is one of three similar pieces found together in Tunisia. The group once belonged to Norbert Schimmel, and one piece is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The thin hammered silver sheet accented by raised diagonal ribs is ornamented by an enthroned male figure wearing a himation and holding a scepter in his raised left hand. Possibly he is extending a "phiale" (offering cup) in his right hand. The beard and pose of the figure suggest a powerful deity like Jupiter (Greek Zeus), Serapis or Pluto (Greek Hades). The figure at his left seems to be a dog, which would indicate that the figure is Pluto, the brother of Jupiter and lord of the underworld, accompanied by his dog, Cerberus. The figure is worked in repoussé. These funerary plaques seem to have been nailed to votive offerings to commemorate a departed relative. There are four holes for attaching the piece, one at the top and three across the bottom.

Excerpt from

Anne R. Bromberg, and Karl Kilinski II, Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996), 105.

Web Resources

Metropolitan Museum of Art
See a similar example of a Roman votive plaque.