Romano-Egyptian Terracotta Head of Woman

£ 295.00

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. Despite the wear to the face due to age, the delicate classical features are still discernible. Her hair is styled upwards in a striking and elaborate manner, forming a towering crown of curls. The back of the head and the outline of a low bun are also carved to imitate hair texture. There are empty hole in each ear, where earrings would have originally been placed.

Date: 1st century BC-2nd century AD
Provenance: North London gentleman, in storage from the 1970’s, then property of a West London gentleman.
Condition: Repaired. The obverse features a crack from the top right part of the coiffure to the ear hole. The reverse features a crack from the top left part of the hair to the bottom right. Natural wear due to ageing particularly to the face. Mounted on a custom-made stand. Please note that the measurements provided are including the stand.
Product Code: RES-233
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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 42.84 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 4.3 x H 7.7 cm



North Africa

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