The Freud Museum

Balsamarium

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3029, Balsamarium, 3rd century B.C.

Culture: Etruscan
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: h. 3 _ in 9.4 cm

Bronze vessels of this type, called balsamariums, were made to hold perfume or oil and are commonly found in Etruscan tombs. They often take the form of a head, or as in this case, two faces joined at the sides. The faces represented are of a satyr and a maenad, the male and female followers of Dionysos, god of wine. Satyrs and maenads are mischievous and amorous creatures. The maenad is an image of idealized beauty, while the satyr, with his snout-like nose and slanting eyebrows, is the epitome of ugliness. Combined on a single vessel, these two faces make an interesting juxtaposition: male and female, beautiful and ugly.

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