Figures with an exaggerated phallus (ithyphallic) were highly popular in the Roman world. They were regarded as apotropaic symbols that could ward off evil influences or bad luck. The figure here, a grotesque, is rather charmingly seated on drapery and playing a lyre.
The Romans were fond of combining the image with music - sometimes as part of a tintinnabulum - and a Roman figure in the Brooklyn Museum plays a harp using his phallus as a plectrum (though that may have been somewhat painful!).
Ex Helios Gallery; private German collection (Hamburg); previously earlier 20th-century collection.
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