Preparations for Sacrifice of Goat

Josiah Wedgwood, 1780 - 1836

Preparations for Sacrifice of Goat

Josiah Wedgwood 1780 - 1836


Thick rectangular plaque with slightly convex upper surface. High white relief of sacrifice to Bacchus, central flaming bowl altar with satyr faces on the legs, woman to the left holding a jug above the flames and a knife by her side, woman to the right holding out a bowl of fruit. To extreme left a man struggles with a goat, holding it by the horns, naked figure of Bacchus standing behind, lion skin over one shoulder and blowing on two pipes. To extreme right male figure kneels beneath a tree carrying an urn, woman behind him carrying fruit.

Display Label

Preparations for the Sacrifice of a Goat about 1778 Possibly modelled by William Hackwood about 1757 - 1839 Made by Wedgwood Jasperware with applied relief This scene is full of symbols which, when decoded, reveal its decadent associations. The key figure is on the far left, the naked youth, with a goatskin draped over his shoulder. This is Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, merry-making and, originally, fertility. He was often worshiped in the form of a goat, so feasting on its flesh after the sacrifice was symbolic of consuming the god himself. The figure in the revealing dress, holding the knife, is a Maenad, a female devotee of Dionysus. The tripod is decorated with three bearded faces, with pointed ears and large, curling ram’s horns, representing satyrs, the god’s raucous male followers. The Maenads and satyrs led the drunken orgies that accompanied the worship of Dionysus. The figure to the right of the tripod holds a bunch of grapes, another reference to the god. 1918.331

Object Name

Preparations for Sacrifice of Goat

Creators Name

Josiah Wedgwood

Date Created

c 1778 (design date)

accession number


Place of creation



On Display

[BG] Manchester Art Gallery - Balcony Gallery
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Transferred from the Horsfall Museum Collection, 1918


© Manchester Art Gallery

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