Votive Offering: Ulysses Bound to the Mast of his Ship (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

5th-6th century
bronze with traces of gilding
Overall: 8 1/2 × 6 3/4 × 3 1/2 in. (21.59 × 17.15 × 8.89 cm)
To prevent the sirens from enticing him and his crew to destroy their ship on the coast of the sirens’ island, the Greek hero Odysseus instructed the sailors to fill their ears with wax. They tied him to the mast so that he might hear the sirens’ fabled but deadly songs. The story was first told by the Greek poet Homer more than a thousand years earlier.
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Anastasia, Drandaki (ed.), Papanikola-Bakirtzi Dimitra (ed.), and Tourta Anastasia (ed.). Heaven and Earth. The Art of Βyzantium from Greek Collections. Athens: Benaki Museum, Ministry of Culture and Sports, 2014. fig 19, p. 44

Annewies van den Hoek and John J. Herrmann, Jr. Pottery, Pavements, and Paradise: Iconographic and Textual Studies on Late Antiquity. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013: 392, pl. 80

Barriault, Anne B., and Kay M. Davidson. Selections from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond, VA: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2007. (pp. 118-119, ill. p. 119)

Gonosová, Anna, Christine Kondoleon, Lawrence Becker, Deborah Schorsch, Jane L. Williams, and Mark T. Wypyski. “Art of Late Rome and Byzantium: In the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.” Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. (cat. no. 82, pp. 238-241, 320)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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