Both pieces, acquired for undisclosed prices, are in superb condition, of excellent quality and were bought in accordance with American art museum guidelines aimed at halting the looting of antiquities, the museum said.The Cleveland Museum of Art has re-entered the controversial world of antiquities collecting by purchasing an ancient Roman marble portrait head and a glazed ceramic Mayan vessel.
"I would say they are top 100 objects" in relation to the museum's overall collection, said David, Franklin, the museum's director. "They're both very notable in terms of rarity and quality."
Both works illuminate violent or lurid aspects of the ancient world.
The Roman head depicts Drusus Minor, son of the emperor Tiberius. According to the museum, Drusus "shocked his contemporaries and alarmed his father" by relishing gladiatorial combat and ritualized killings. Drusus drank heavily, was prone to fits of rage and was allegedly poisoned by his wife at age 37 in the year 23.