Romano-Egyptian Terracotta Head of Female

£ 275.00

A fine Romano-Egyptian terracotta fragment portraying the head of a female. She possesses stylistic traits belonging to both Roman and Egyptian cultures, and is mounted on a custom-made stand. Her facial traits are anatomically detailed even if slightly worn due to ageing, displaying full lips, large eyes and a wide nose, featuring a hieratic expression. An elaborate two-tiered hairstyle adorns her head. Well defined curls frame her face and a wide braid-like hair formation sits atop of the curls, most of it now damaged. This head fragment would have originally belonged to a votive statuette produced in Alexandrian workshops, exported for the cult of Egyptian gods and divinities in the Mediterranean.

Date: Circa 1st Century BC-2nd Century AD
Provenance: North London gentleman, in storage since the 1970s. Property of a West London gentleman.
Condition: Fine condition, signs of natural ageing, the nose in particular is slightly damaged. Mounted on a custom-made stand. Glue residue is visible on the reverse. Please note that the measurements provided are including the stand.
Product Code: RES-232
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Physical appearance was of paramount importance in Ancient Rome and much energy was invested into it, as it would have reflected an individual’s social status. Hairstyles, along with jewellery, would have been one of the principal means to showcase wealth and prestige, as well as a major determinant of physical attractiveness. Slaves would keep their hair short, to reflect their low social status, and would tend to the intricate hairstyles of their masters, a scene typically carved on gravestones. Women would normally wear their hair drawn up and controlled by hairpins and nets, as loose hair was associated with loose morals. More elaborate hairstyles would have been achieved with wigs, which were commonly made out of human hair harvested from slaves. Different hairstyles characterised different time periods: the relative simplicity of off-swept hair tied at the back into a nodus, seen under the Julio-Claudian gens, was dismissed by complex styles with towering heights and multiple components during the Flavian era.

To discover more about how terracotta statuettes were made, please visit our relevant post: The Making of Terracotta Statuettes in Antiquity.

Weight 38.04 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 5.7 x H 7.5 cm



North Africa

Reference: For a similar item, Christie’s The Duarte Pinto Coelho Collection From the distinguished decorator's houses in Madrid and Trujillo, Spain, lot 239

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