Romano-Egyptian Votive Terracotta Head of Isis

£ 245.00

A Romano-Egyptian terracotta fragment portraying the Egyptian goddess Isis. She is depicted in a naturalistic manner, with curls falling on the forehead and the Hathoric crown sitting low on her head. Also known as basileion, the crown is formed of a solar disc flanked by two uraei. This head fragment would have originally belonged to a votive statuette produced in Alexandrian workshops, exported for the cult of Egyptian gods and divinities in the Mediterranean. Mould-made in two sections, the fragment displays on its sides the lines where the two halves were attached together in antiquity.

Date: Circa 2nd century AD
Provenance: From a North London gentleman collection, in storage since the 1970s; then property of a West London gentleman.
Condition: Fragment in fine condition, mounted on a custom-made stand. A small hole to the back.


Isis was an important Egyptian deity, whose relevance in the Egyptian canon was manifold – she was the goddess most commonly associated with birth and creation, on account of her role in the Osirian myth. However, she was also the goddess of wisdom and magic, and kingship and the protection of the kingdom also fell within her domain. The goddess enjoyed widespread worship, which extended beyond the confines of Egypt – indeed, the secret cult of Isis in the Roman Empire received frequent mention in literature. This statuette is a beautiful example of the cultural and aesthetic syncretism which was common in antiquity across the Mediterranean regions. It was perfectly accepted in the Ancient World that other deities could exist and that they had no less legitimacy than those in one’s territory. Isis is an example of an Egyptian goddess adopted and adapted by the Greeks and the Romans. The Egyptians themselves could worship deities who did not originally belong to their own culture: for instance, Astarte, the warrior goddess from Western Asia, was said to come to protect the pharaoh in battle.

To discover more about religious syncretisms in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Religious Syncretisms in the Ancient Mediterranean Region.

Weight 27.1 g
Dimensions H 5.5 cm



Pottery and Porcelain

Egyptian Mythology