This magnificent bronze sculpture of a panther is
a masterpiece of Roman naturalism. Her
ferocious head has been rendered in a fashion
characteristic of Roman felines. Her brows are
clenched together as she snarls, her tongue
dangling from her mouth and fangs exposed.
Judging from this intimidating posture, we can
assume she is attempting to defend herself or
her offspring who would presumably rest nearby.
Her body has been rendered with meticulous
attention to detail such as her noticeable ribcage
and swollen teats, a sign that she has been
recently feeding her young. In a charming
gesture, her tail gently arches downwards and
wraps around one of her hind legs. Another
interesting feature is that one of her front paws
rests atop a small sphere, recalling the stances of
Chinese “Foo Dogs.” Might this sphere
symbolize the world and this panther the Roman
Empire, protective and nurturing?