Ancient Greek Terracotta Statuette of an Actor


A finely crafted Greek terracotta statuette of a bearded man depicted standing on a rectangular base. The man, perhaps an actor, is dressed in a knee-length tunic with short sleeves, boots and wearing a plant crown. He holds a thyrsus in his right hand, a staff or spear decorated at the top with pine cones or vine leaves, which further identifies him as a Bacchus follower. Traces of the original polychromy (white and red pigments) remain. This statuette is a fine example of the common Boeotian type of the Greek Classical period.

Date: Circa 5th-4th century BC
Condition: Very fine condition. Some traces of polychromy still visible

In stock

Terracotta statuettes were potted in a specific region in north Attica, Boeotia, famous for its terracotta production of votive statuettes and figurines. All Greek sculptural production was originally polychrome. Few examples of statues and statuettes have come down to modern times in their original condition with their polychromy intact. This figurine gives a very clear idea of how statuettes of this type used to appear in Ancient Greece.

According to Ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Dionysus (or Bacchus) was the god of wine, fertility and theatre. In connection with these attributes, Dionysus was also associated with release and with extremes of state: from the giver of sensual pleasures to more chaotic and destructive passions. Part of Dionysus’ power and mystery derives from the fact that he was a relatively young god, and the final addition to the pantheon of the twelve Olympians.

For more information on coloured Greek statues, see the relevant blog post: Polychromy in Ancient Art. 

Weight 125.1 g
Dimensions W 6.5 x H 18.8 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 1926,1115.5

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