TITLE

The Sun is a Juggler

AUTHOR(S)
BONFANTE, LARISSA
PUB. DATE
January 2018
SOURCE
Mediterranea (18270506);2018, Vol. 15, p431
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
A depiction of the sun as a juggler rising from the sea on an archaic Etruscan mirror in Minneapolis offers a remarkable visual parallel to the poetic metaphor in a poem by Philip Larkin (1966). Both the modern and the ancient images use astral symbolism to refer to movement and stability, impermanence and balance. There was no Greek model for the Etruscan image of the sun god; the iconography of Usil, with rays emanating from his body, was taken from Near Eastern models. Usil appears on a terracotta antefix from Pyrgi, and also on a group of bronze appliqués used on chariots, which were originally brightly polished and shining, making them appropriate objects for images of the sun god. At the same time, jugglers are represented in the context of funeral art, in tomb paintings and on a group of bronze mirrors by the Maestro dei Giocolieri; the importance of the juggler in the context of Etruscan life and ritual accounts for the choice of this particular motif.
ACCESSION #
137194338

 

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