Refers to components or embellishments used in antiquity in both the East and West. Moldmade protomai are often used on ancient vessels, typically plastic vases such as rhyta or kantharoi although also used on other vessel types such as cauldrons and shoulder hydriae. Protomai usually consist of the upper part (head, chest, and forelegs) of an animal or mythological creature or the head and upper body of a person. Protomai are often depicted in Greek vase paintings as shield devices as well.

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Go Historic ID
31431

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Refers to components or embellishments used in antiquity in both the East and West. Moldmade protomai are often used on ancient vessels, typically plastic vases such as rhyta or kantharoi although also used on other vessel types such as cauldrons and shoulder hydriae. Protomai usually consist of the upper part (head, chest, and forelegs) of an animal or mythological creature or the head and upper body of a person. Protomai are often depicted in Greek vase paintings as shield devices as well. Amongst other things, protomai are also used as embellishments on ancient Hittite architecture and ancient Roman furniture. Protomai, especially in their earliest incarnations, most likely often had votive purposes. The term is occasionally used to refer to embellishments of a later date, particularly medieval stone architectural embellishments.

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Page Info

Title
Protomai
Date Published
December 12, 2012
Last Updated
April 22, 2021