Protomes are adornments, usually in the form of an animal or human bust, which are found throughout antiquity as a type of aesthetic detail that many individuals of wealth and power would use in the decoration of their homes. This Greek protome takes the form of a bull, its muscled neck pushed down by the large head as the animal seems to be holding back in a restrained show of force.

Bulls were then, as today, symbols of power and strength, so it would have made for a striking display in the home of an affluent merchant or Greek politician. The details of its squat face are finely detailed, from the stern eyes to the flared nostrils, and the tiny grooves of its furrowed brow. The bull’s muscular body beholds a restrained grace, yet there is no mistaking the thick muscles that project the power and authority that would have appealed to this piece’s ancient owner.