Couch and footstool with bone carvings and glass inlays

Period: Imperial

Date: 1st–2nd century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Wood, bone, glass

Dimensions: 41 1/2 × 30 × 84 1/2 in. (105.4 × 76.2 × 214.6 cm)
footstool: 9 1/4 × 17 1/2 × 25 1/2 in. (23.5 × 44.5 × 64.8 cm)

Classifications: Miscellaneous-Bone, Ivory

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.2076


These pieces of furniture have been reassembled from fragments, some of which may come from the imperial villa of Lucius Verus (co-emperor, A.D. 161–169), on the Via Cassia outside Rome. It is not certain that the square glass panels are original to the bed frame and stool, but the carved bone inlays are paralleled on other Roman couches. On the couch legs are friezes of huntsmen, horses, and hounds flanking Ganymede, the handsome Trojan youth who was abducted by Zeus in the guise of an eagle to serve as his wine steward; on the footstool are scenes of winged cupids and leopards; and on the sides of the bed frame, the striking lion protomes have eyes inlaid with glass.