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Creator Nationality: African; North African; Egyptian
Creator Name-CRT: Egyptian
Title: Panel
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 200
Creation End Date: 299
Creation Date: 3rd century
Object Type: Textiles
Materials and Techniques: linen, wool
Dimensions: 8 2/3 x 13 3/8 in. (22 x 34 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 90.5.873
Credit Line: Gift of George F. Baker, 1890

The story of Dionysos's suffering, victories, and theophany had great currency in the Mediterranean world of the fourth to sixth centuries A.D. His myth formed the central drama of a mystery cult and also offered potent imagery for a broader society, which was pervaded by the desire for success in life and for an existence after death. This panel shows Dionysos's triumphant return from his conquest of India.

The composition, related to late imperial depictions, is striking. Dionysos, wearing a turreted crown and with feminine breasts, holds grapes aloft as he advances in a chariot drawn by panthers. His centrality is emphasized by the activity and luxuriant vegetation around him. His gyrating entourage includes Pan, a meditative female (left), and an ecstatic Maenad (right) with a knife ready to goad a bound Indian captive. The sweep of the lower border and the backward- and upward-looking dolphins in the spandrels add to the triumphant revelation of the god.

A pendant to this panel is in the Hermitage. The two must have belonged to a set, perhaps of ritual garments. The Museum's is said to be from Akhmim, called Panopolis in Greek and Roman times because its ancient god Min was identified with Dionysos's cohort Pan.

In this panel, perhaps from a ritual or festival garment, Dionysos in his chariot, bearing grapes aloft, triumphantly celebrates his conquest of India. While a part of the popular Dionysian cycle, this episode in particular had also been embedded in Egyptian ruler mythology since Alexander. The highly impressive composition and framing of the scene in this panel attest to its sophisticated models.

AMICA ID: MMA_.90.5.873
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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