Made from a single piece of Italian marble and highly polished as befits a work of quality, the small sculptural group was originally displayed in a large waterfront villa now known as the Villa of the Papyri, just outside Herculaneum. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Beyond sculpture, sex scenes graced drinking cups, oil lamps and dining room walls, and tintinnabula, or phallic wind-chimes, were suspended from doorways. More typical, certainly, than it is for us today. But images of their lovemaking, popular across the ancient Mediterranean, are still difficult to look at. Throughout the garden, images of athletes, thinkers and dynasts vied for attention with female figures, gods, animals and satyrs. An ancient marble sculpture of the god Pan a part-human, part-goat figure having sex with a she-goat is not to be segregated, as it has been since its discovery in , but displayed openly with the other exhibits — a liberal move by London, if also one which dulls the object's impact. The gods were notoriously incontinent when it came to their sex lives — not simply full of the emotions and urges that their anthropomorphism demanded, but excessive in these emotions and urges, as befitted beings who looked like mortals but were superhuman. Getting this story into the news ensures that centuries of censorship are not swept under the carpet, and that Pan, and the show he speaks for, remain "hot property".
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