The oval banded agate plaque, embellished with the ambulating male figure, probably Silenus, playing a double flute with an entranced panther walking at his side, circa 1st Century BC. Measuring 10 x 17 x 2 mm
The scene in this intaglio is a reference to Dionysus the Greek (and consequently Bacchus for the Romans) god of wine, fertility and theatre. He and his followers of Maenads and Satyrs are often represented in frenzied dancing processions, having been freed from their self-consciousness through libation and dance - they are entranced. Dionysus is often depicted mounted upon a panther...here we see the panther is mesmerised by the male figure, playing his double flute - the synchronicity of their movement emphasising the idea of a procession and the panthers' enthralment. Note the fine nature of the carving reflected in the muscle detail and draping robes, in the style of Classical statutes.
For an example of Silenus playing his double flute: Cades, T.: Impronte dell' Instituto: Libro 11, classe II, A no. 326