Statuette of Molossian Hound (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

2nd-3rd Century
Roman
Bronze
Overall: 1 3/4 × 6 3/8 × 3 in. (4.45 × 16.19 × 7.62 cm)
Mount: 3/4 × 7 3/16 × 4 in. (1.91 × 18.26 × 10.16 cm)
2016.18

Like a Molossian hound or tawny Laconian, the shepherd’s friend, I’ll pursue with ears pricked through deepest snow whatever wild beast runs before me. — Horace (Roman poet, 65–8 BC), Epode 6

The Molossian hound, ancestor of the modern mastiff, was prized as a guard hound and dog of war. This depiction of a Molossian at rest captures the strength of the breed but also evokes literary descriptions of Molossians as obedient and silent hunters. Cast using the lost-wax method, this highly detailed bronze (even the tendons of the paws are depicted) may have adorned—and watched over—a chest or ceremonial chariot.

Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Antiquarium LTD: Ancient Treasures VIII (New York, 2010), front coffer
Mottahedeh, P.E. Out of Noah’s Ark: Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection (Jerusalem 1997), no. 72
Kozloff, A. Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection (Cleveland, 1981), 196 – 7, no. 184
Galerie Koller Zurich: The Ernest Brummer collection (Zurich 16 – 19 Oct. 1979), lot 578
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.