Terracotta figurines were extremely popular throughout the Ancient Mediterranean. Particularly in the Roman Empire, such figurines were often produced using moulds. Moulds simplified the production process and enabled the quick and identical reproduction of popular motifs. The cut hole at the back of the figurine would have allowed for ventilation during the firing process and possibly also movement within the kiln with the use of a tool. Before firing, the figurine may have been covered in a white slip and painted. Terracottas such as this were most often used as votive offerings for graves or shrines, and occasionally as decorative objects in common homes.
To discover more about the making of Roman terracotta figurines, please visit our relevant blog post: The Making of Terracotta Statuettes in Antiquity.