Greek Terracotta Head of a Woman


A finely modelled Greek, grey-coloured, terracotta head of a female figure. She is depicted with her wavy hair parted down the centre and wearing a smooth veil or headdress over the rest of her head. The figure presents a serene expression, with exquisitely carved facial features including almond eyes and strong, straight, nose.
The piece displays traces of original white slip and was potentially part of a larger statue. The item is likely from the region of Attica.

Date: Circa 5th - 2nd Century BC
Provenance: Raphaël Collin (1850-1916) collection, Paris. The Senator William A. Clark (1839-1925) Collection, acquired from the above in 1911. Bequeathed to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 1925. Deaccessioned and gifted to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington D.C., 2014. with Sands of Time Ancient Art, Washington D.C., 2021.
Condition: Good Condition. The back and base of the neck have received modern repair, of which the seams are visible. There is a horizontal crack over the bridge of the nose and a small perforation on the inner corner of the left eye. The surface of the figurine is uneven and speckled. Some traces of white pigment remain.

In stock

SKU: MJ-10 Category: Tags: ,

Terracotta figures are the most common statue type in Greek art. Often fairly crude in their rendering, they were clearly designed for use across all social strata, and provide insight into the everyday lives of Greeks. As a result of their popularity, they were often used for votive purposes.
Two figurine heads with the same hairstyle are listed in the British Museum’s collections, attached to the project ‘Greeks in Naukratis’. Both pieces are described as originating in Attica, but having been discovered in Naukratis. This trading post city on the banks of the Nile has become a key site for studying the advent of Hellenistic culture into Egypt. It was one of the first places that Greeks, Cypriots, Phoenicians, and Native Egyptians lived side-by-side in multi-ethnic communities. The distinctive form of these figurines is suggested to be a conical headdress as opposed to a hair bun.

Weight 176.50 g
Dimensions L 4.90 x W 3.50 x H 10.8 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item GR.31.1887

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