UK private collection, Chichester, acquired before 2000
Small bronze mice were frequently featured in Roman art. Traditionally, such statuettes have been associated with the cult of the god Apollo Smintheus but they were mainly used to ornament furniture: P. Kiernan, 'The Bronze Mice of Apollo Smintheus', AJA, vol. 118, no. 4, October 2014, pp. 601-626. As they are often shown nibbling at a morsel of food, as presented here, scholars have also suggested that mice served as protective figures to guard food stores (see H.B. Werness, Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in Art, p. 285).
For similar examples cf. A. P. Kozloff (ed.), Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, Part I, Cleveland Museum of Art, 1981, p. 185, nos. 170, 171; Animals,III, 1996, no. 107.