According to the Database of the Cincinnati Art Museum, this particular sculpture was part of the decoration of an altar. Since they were important public structures, Roman altars could often be elaborate, the Ara Pacis built by Augustus in Rome is a prime example (reference). The cow is damaged, but still displays a remarkably life-like stance and demeanor, just like human representations of the period the young cow is shown in a highly naturalistic and idealized style. Cows, especially heifers, were popular sacrificial animals, which makes this image particularly suitable for the decoration of an altar or altar enclosure (reference). In comparison, the Ara Pacis in Rome is decorated with carved representations of cattle skulls, or bucrania (reference). This representation is of a domestic animal and although the cow is a sacrificial victim and therefore both subordinate to humans and doomed to die, the sculpture represents the animal with great dignity and tranquility, underlining its importance in both a religious and economic context.