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Copper alloy Roman knife handle

Exquisite, erotic copper alloy knife handle. The handle has a hollow openwork rectangular frame with two riveted holes at the end to secure the blade. The top has four notched strips leading into the openwork rectangular frame. The top of the frame depicts an erotic scene with three dimes: an adult male on the right, an adult female in the center, and a young male on the shoulders of a woman on the left.

The scene depicts the male figure on the right standing on a small ledge. The ledge protrudes from the inside of the frame on the left side. The man leans back and sits against the frame on the right side. His upper body and shoulders are turned so that he is facing outward. He has carved oval eyes, a triangular nose, and a rugged mouth. The ears are marked by small notches on the sides of the head. The head is flat with a straight line of hair across the forehead, shown by a series of vertically cut lines. The female in the center rests on the back of the younger male on the left, and the male on the right is seated, supported at the top. The male's left hand supports the lower part of the female's right leg, just as his right hand supports his left leg on the reverse side. The penis and testicles of the male's right hand are clearly shown below the seated female, and it appears that the penis is pointed at the figure on the far left, not at the female in the center. The woman's arms are pointing back and around the younger man's waist. The woman's breasts are clearly visible, and she, too, has her head turned so that it is facing outward; she is facing in the opposite direction from the adult male. It is unclear whether the woman is naked or wearing a short dress that ties around her neck. There is a ribbon around her neck, as well as a short molding line visible just above her hip line, indicating the neckline and hemline of the dress, respectively. It is also possible that the woman is actually nude, and the line around her neck is either a torque or a rope. The woman has cut oval eyes and a flat line of hair, as do the men on the left and right; the only difference is that the men's head is flat and the woman's is rounded. The figure on the far left is that of a man of smaller or younger stature. He sits on top of the frame on the left side, leaning with his back to the female. His head is turned outward and faces the same direction as the female. His facial features are identical to the other two figures; his eyes are two carved ovals with a straight line of hair growth. The hands of the younger figure are depicted holding a severed human head. The head is again carved with oval eyes and a straight line of hair. The top of the severed head is rounded. It is unclear whether the severed head belongs to a man or a woman. The penis and testicles of the younger figure are depicted molded below the head. The handle of the knife has an even medium green patina and is in good preservation, except for areas of wear and surface pitting. There are no signs of active corrosion. Only a small number of erotic knife handles are known in the UK. The workmanship in all cases is "indifferent", "rough" or "provincial", and it is possible that they were made in Great Britain.