In "The Golden Ass" of the Roman author
Apuleius, we learn of the prominent
place of donkeys and mules in the cults
of fertility deities like Isis. This
exquisitely modeled votive was almost
certainly an offering made to the gods
in return for their fecund blessings.
Bold and robust, it is clearly no
patient beast of burden, but a donkey of
almost human personality, one with a
mind of his own.