This Roman bronze parade mask was dredged from the bottom of the river Maas in The Netherlands, a unique find that speaks to Ancient Rome’s dominion across Europe’s northern reaches. This mask was forged to the likeness of the cavalry officer to whom it belonged, worn during the formal military parades with great pride.
These masks were often worn for ceremonial purposes, as they would have been highly impractical for actual combat. There is a latch on the helmet’s forehead indicating that this mask was once connected to a helmet of similar material. These masks were often used in displays of professionalism known as hippika gymnasia, or cavalry sports, a precursor to the celebrated jousts and games of merit during medieval times. Although small part of the chin is missing, this piece is in excellent condition and has been carefully cared for since its discovery over five decades ago.