Roman carved jet amuletic bust of a pugilistW59
A carved jet bust representing a professional athlete wearing a characteristic top-knot of longer hair tied on the back of his head. The flat nose and broad pugilistic features suggest that this is a figure of a boxer or wrestler, perhaps of African origin.
Athletes were adored in the Classical world and often had enormous followings as well as numerous female admirers; it is likely that this bust may have been a token worn in admiration of a famed fighter. The head is pierced diagonally at the back so that it could be suspended or worn as an amulet.
Egypt or Eastern Empire, Roman, c. 1st Century AD
2.1 x 2.1 cms
Some losses as seen in the photographs, mainly to the chin and left ear.
Ex. private collection, London, UK; acquired in Europe before 1990.