Rare Roman bronze statues in excellent condition will be on sale.
Original text and images from Christie’s with Japanese translation.



Two Important Roman Bronze Genre Statues of Girls Pursuing Partridges


Large-scale bronze statuary from the Roman world only rarely survives. Both depict a young girl about one year in age wearing a tunic, scooting forward in pursuit of a partridge. While seemingly identical, closer inspection reveals tremendous differences, especially for their facial features, their hair and the position of their arms. The birds, too, are different, as one turns its head much further than the other. The tradition of depicting young children traces its origins to the Classical period in Greece, when grave reliefs show them holding a pet, often a bird. By the end of the 4th century B.C., the Greeks dedicated sculptures in the round as votive offerings to the goddess of childbirth. The Romans typically adopted Greek models for the decoration of their villas, but for them the sculptures were strictly ornamental, seemingly devoid of any religious significance. Sculpture was often displayed in symmetrical arrangements, in pairs or in mirror images. Our girls likely decorated the fountain of a wealthy Roman villa. They are in fantastic condition and are of incomparable quality. They are true masterpieces of Roman art, and illustrate the pinnacle of bronze casting technology of the early Imperial period.