Hairstyles with elaborate arrangements became fashionable due to the influence of Roman empresses. Many hairpins, such as this piece, would have been used to support and ornament these hairstyles. On tall hairstyles Juvenal in his Satires (6, 58-9) comments: “So important is the business of beautification; so numerous are the tiers and storeys piled one upon another on her head!”
Roman Hairpin with a Female Bust
An Ancient Roman bone hairpin with a portrait bust of a woman. Her elaborate hairstyle, possibly a wig, is arranged in high strands with vertical partings and surmounted by a diadem. The woman’s torso is unadorned, sitting atop a plinth consisting of four concentric cordons. The shaft is well preserved, widening slightly from its point to the plinth.
Provenance: German collection, 1970's.
Condition: Very fine, complete and intact, with minor encrustations over the whole.