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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Roman Art : Roman marble table support terminating in a lion’s head
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Roman marble table support terminating in a lion’s head - X.0044
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 3 rd Century AD to 4 th Century AD
Dimensions: 39.375" (100.0cm) high x 7.125" (18.1cm) wide
Collection: Classical
Medium: Marble

Location: Great Britain
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In ancient Rome owning furniture was a mark of social distinction. The majority of the population would have lived a very simple existence with only the most basic household items, predominantly fashioned out of wood. For the aristocracy however furnishings were expertly handcrafted from the most durable and costly materials such as marble and finished with elaborate decorative details. Wealthy Roman domestic architecture featured hot and cold running water, a sophisticated drainage system, and in the most opulent homes, hot tubs modeled after the public baths. Comparably, their furnishings achieved a high level of sophistication and artistry that would rival (if not surpass) the finest pieces created today. One is duly impressed by considering how advanced civilisation was more than two thousand years ago, at the same time realizing that the very foundations of every convenience in our modern lives are rooted in the past. Wicker chairs, wooden couches with stuffed cushions, beds supported on frames, tables used for eating and drinking, storage cupboards, decorative mosaic tiles, painted walls: all these are furnishing elements which could be found in an aristocratic Roman house. This charming one legged marble table support (trapezoforos, or to be more precise “monopodium”) is an example of the beauty and masterful artistry of Roman furniture. The expressive head of the lion emerges from the hard material more charming than imposing; naturally so, as its sole goal is to attract and delight us. The paw is elegantly articulated and serves as a suitable base. Where as marble Roman tables are usually identified as dining room furniture, evidence from Roman reliefs and frescoes depicting dining scenes attest that such single leg table supports were mostly used to hold glassware, being mostly a “vasariae mensae”, a drinks table and not a dining table. Sometimes such monopods also served as stands for family cult images in small domestic shrines. Whatever its original function, this stunning table support is a luxurious remnant of ancient Roman furniture design, an eloquent remain of how wealthy upper class Romans lived their lives. - (X.0044)


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