Neo-Romanian style wine gods

Wine god figures decorating the frieze of an early 1930s Neo-Romanian style house, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the row of remarkable wood carved wine gods (dimension of each piece is about 25 x 35cm) embellishing the frieze of a Neo-Romanian style house dating from the early 1930s, two of of those pieces being presented in the above photograph. I have not encountered something of a similar design in all my past fieldwork, so they must be very rare, if not unique. The figures were quite difficult to notice from the street level amidst the grim and fragments of plasters accumulated after many years of lack of building maintenance. The appearance is that of a Greek mythology god or spirit with wine or vine plant attributes, seen in the vine leaves that make up their hair and beards. The symbols associated with wine and the vine plant are an intrinsic part of the Neo-Romanian style decorative panoply, but they are as a rule found in a setting of Christian connotations and symbols. These gods are in that sense even more particular, making reference to ancient pagan faiths, a very unusual fact for the Neo-Romanian architectural style.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

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If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.