Ancient Greek Hermaphroditos figure to auction

A rare ancient Greek figure of Hermaphroditos will cross the block at Bonhams London on November 28.

The figure is the rare kallipygos ("beautiful buttocks") type. The demi-god is depicted checking out their derriere in a mirror.

Hermaphroditus figure Bonhams

Hermaphroditos was originally the son of Hermes and Aphrodite

Hermaphroditos is first described in Roman author Ovid’s Metamorphoses (AD 8) as the son of Hermes and Aphrodite. A water nymph named Salmacis fell for him and convinced the gods to unite their bodies into one.

They’re shown in female form with male genitals.

The idea of a being representing both genders arrived in Greece from Asia.

It’s interesting to see this idea represented in antiquity, particularly as transgender people have started to become increasingly visible in society today.

Francesca Hickin, Bonhams’ head of antiquities, comments: “This is a rare and important bronze figure of Hermaphroditos.

“It is likely that the statue was displayed in a domestic setting, either in a garden or within a home.”  

The lot is valued at £25,000-35,000 ($32,757-45,859).

Other items featuring in the sale include a very well preserved ancient Egyptian limestone shabti, also valued at £25,000-35,000 ($32,757-45,859).

Shabti figures were placed in tombs to act as servants to the deceased in the afterlife.

It was produced circa 1292-1185 BC, placing it squarely in the New Kingdom era.

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