Offered is a Pair of Dionysos Bookends from the British Museum in London, circa 1959. They are made of Alvastone, a hard substance, made to resemble stone. The Dionysos faces appear to be made of a bronzed substance.
Dionysos is the god of the grape harvest, wine making and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theater and religious ecstasy in ancient Greek religion and myth.
A paper included with the bookends reads:
MASK OF YOUNG DIONYSOS
The original is of bronze, Roman workmanship.
50 B.C. - 50 A.D., The British Museum, London.
Dionysos, son of Zeus and a mortal woman, the Theban Princess Semele, is a late-comer to the Greek pantheon - just as the cultivation of the vine is a comparatively late development in history. The Romans adopted him under the name of Bacchus. His wanderings all over the earth as related in the myth are symbolic of the spreading of viniculture.
He developed into an important deity; bread and wine were after all the most important foods, indeed the basic fare of the ancients. His significance, however, far exceeded that of the "Merry God of Wine," donor of the blessings of the grape as well as leader of the wild Maenads, Satyrs and Bacchantes.
The festival of Dionysos, celebrated in Spring when the vine starts sprouting anew, reveals the other side of the god's nature. In his honor as the giver of creative inspiration, during five days devoted to perfect peace and enjoyment, poetry was recited and plays some of the greatest of Greek literature - were performed.
His face, shown on this mask from the British Museum with a crown of vine leaves and grape clusters, is therefore well suited to adorn a book holder.
Authorized, copyrighted reproduction made of Alvastone with permission of the Trustees of the British Museum, London, by Alva Museum Replicas, Inc., New York.
© 1959 Alva Studios, Inc.
A worn tag on the bottom of one shows they are made by Alva Museum Replicas, Inc. New York, Reproduced from the original by permission of the trustees at The British Museum, London.
They are in great condition with no damage to note.
They measure about 6-7/8"H x 5-1/2"W and are not light weight.
Pair Dionysos Mask British Museum Bookends - 1959