Period: Late Republican
Date: ca. 50–40 B.C.
Dimensions: Overall: 77 x 107in. (195.6 x 271.8cm)
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1903
Accession Number: 03.14.4
This large painting fragment comes from the west wall of the exedra (Room L), opening off the rear of the villa's peristyle. A sacrificial bull's head (boukranion) originally occupied the center of the wall, from which an opulent garland of fruits and leaves is suspended to left and right against a brilliant wall of simulated masonry. Preserved are parts of four of the original five red slabs of the central zone, separated by golden bands and crowned by a white molding. There follows a course of alternating green and golden blocks that bears an elaborate entablature consisting of a white architrave, a purple frieze decorated with brackets in the form of bearded horned snakes with interlacing tails, and a white cornice. Hanging from a red cord tied in the bull's mouth is a wicker basket, the cista mystica, its lid removed to reveal a snake uncoiling from a bed of ivy. Suspended from the garland also in red cords are a cymbal and a satyr mask.