The antefix was placed as a terminal element of a tiled roof, positioned above the eaves, so as to form a serial decoration. At times it was also equipped with a meniscus, or rather a sort of three-toothed metal pin, which in ancient statuary served to keep birds away. These two, with a head of a Maenad and a Silenus, respectively, would have been used for the roof of a temple in which the two subjects were alternated, along with the relative background colours for the nimbus: black for the Maenad, red for the Silenus. The characteristic wide nimbus, with alternating lotus-flower palmettes, distinguishes it from archaic or so-called “first phase” antefixes, on which it was completely absent. They conserve most of the original polychrome detail. These antefixes recurred frequently in Cerveteri, where they were unearthed in 1879 along with others, and then in part distributed among the museums of Copenhagen, Berlin, London and Paris.
The head of the Maenad is adorned with a diadem with rosettes and two large cluster-shaped earrings. The head of the Silenus is striking for its hideous appearance: it has a long beard, wide-set eyes with a furrowed brow, flared nostrils, bared teeth and large equine ears; the forehead is crowned with ivy leaves.