H: 7.6 cm. W: 7.7 cm
Provenance: no indication
27 B.C.-A.D. 14 (Augustan)
Solid-cast by the lost wax process save for a hollow pipe-like section running through and protruding from the dolphin's head, at the back it is circled by a special section for attachment (with traces of soldering). The eyes of the dolphin inlaid with tenorite (CuO, a black copper oxide).
Condition: patina a dark olive green, and yellowish, reddish or bronze medal colour showing through in a few small places. A crack through the right wrist and another halfway through the dolphin's tail. Part of the tenorite inlay of the eyes missing.
The girl seated on the dolphin is probably Aphrodite  or a Nereid .
The ensemble formed the spout of a small table fountain, an object of refinement and prestige in a wealthy Roman household.
Exhibited and Published:
Master Bronzes, cat. no. 304, p. 303 ill.
Pompeii, cat. no. 243, p. 136 ill.
Delivorrias, A.: LIMC II, 1, no. 979, p. 101.
1 A. Delivorrias (LIMC II, 1, no. 979, p. 101) lists her among his examples of Aphrodite riding a dolphin.
2 LIMC VI, 1, p. 791 (N. Icard-Gianolio, A.-V. Szabados), where Nereids are mentioned as often associated with fountains.