Lot 9
  • 9

A Roman Marble Torso of Pan, circa 2nd Century A.D.

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • A Roman Marble Torso of Pan
  • Marble
  • Height 31 cm.
after a Hellenistic Greek original sculpture of the 3rd/1st Century B.C., the ithyphallic goat-legged shepherd deity standing with his right leg forward, his hands bound behind his back, his now missing head formerly turned to his left; no restorations.


French Private Collection, Lyon, acquired in the 1950's

Catalogue Note

At least three other Roman marble replicas of this type are known, all carved on the same relatively small scale: in Compiègne, with head restored (É. Espérandieu, Recueil général des bas-reliefs, statues et bustes de la Gaule romaine, vol. 5, 1913, p. 149, no. 3905), in the Cosa Archaeological Museum (J. Collins, The Marble Sculptures from Cosa, doct. diss., Columbia University, New York, 1970, pp. 121ff., no. 14, figs. 38ff.), and in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on loan from a private collection (unpublished). The latter example was used as decoration for a coloured marble table leg (trapezophoros).

The present torso might be the same object referred to as being in a private collection in K. Schauenburg, Römische Mitteilungen, vol. 90, 1983, p. 351, note 109.

The motif of Pan with hands bound alludes to a mythological episode in which the Nymphs unite to punish him for his unwanted advances. The story, once depicted in a long-lost Classical Greek painting, was told in the 3rd Century A.D. by Philostratus the Elder in his Imagines (Eikones): “Formerly Pan used to sleep relaxed, with peaceful nostril and soothing his angry spirit with slumber, but today he is very angry; for the nymphs have fallen upon him, and already Pan’s hands have been tied behind his back, and he fears for his legs since the Nymphs wish to seize them. Moreover, his beard, which he values most highly, has been shaven off with razors that have been roughly applied to it” (transl. A. Fairbanks, London, 1931).