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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Seated Youth Wrapped in a Himation
Work Type
statuette, sculpture
early 5th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
Archaic period, Late, to Early Classical
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast, lost-wax process
9.7 x 4 x 5.7 cm (3 13/16 x 1 9/16 x 2 1/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 90.67; Sn, 8.99; Pb, 0.09; Zn, 0.008; Fe, 0.01; Ni, 0.01; Ag, 0.01; Sb, less than 0.02; As, 0.19; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.018; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The blackish surface is a result of electrolytic cleaning, which has removed most of the corrosion products both above and below the original surface. Small spots of green and red corrosion have survived. Much detail of the original surface was probably preserved in the corrosion products and is now lost due to electrolytic cleaning process. The degree of loss can be seen the small areas of very fine surface work still preserved in the bronze in the hair on the back of the head. The statuette is structurally sound.

The statuette is very heavy and has a wall thickness of up to 7 mm. It is open at the bottom, where the figure would have sat in contact with some sort of base. The thickness may point to direct modeling in wax, but the soft shape of several relief features in the interior could indicate that wax was slush molded into a mold, which left drip marks in the interior. Under magnification, the very fine lines on the back of the head depicting hair appear soft and fluid and were probably pushed with a point through the wax model. It is likely that the surfaces were cold worked after casting, but damage to the surface obscures this.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

[Munzen und Medaillen AG, Basel, Auktion 60, September 21, 1982, lot 98]. [Christie's, New York, December 1, 2001, lot 438], sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2001.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Marian H. Phinney Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This beardless youth sits frontally, wrapped in a large himation that gives him a block-like appearance. The face is well modeled, with arching brows, large eyes, a small nose, and a slightly pursed mouth set in his squarish face. His ears are large, with the details of the inner ears carefully rendered. His hair is uncovered, with slightly wavy locks rendered clearly around the forehead and the nape of the neck. The himation is largely featureless except for folds around the neck and bulges indicating the placement of his arms and legs. There is a roll of fabric around the neck with creases radiating down toward his right arm and shoulder. His arms appear to be folded and resting on his lap, and his knees are sharply bent. The hem of the himation ends at the youth’s ankles, leaving his feet exposed. The feet are not well enough preserved to determine whether he wore sandals or was barefoot. Viewed in profile, the youth appears to slouch forward, and his shoulders appear to be slumped or rolled forward. The underside of the statuette is hollow from the waist down. The back of the torso is modeled, but all modeling ends at the level of the seat.

This seated figure first appeared on the art market with a very similar seated statuette of an older male, also wrapped in a himation; H. Cahn suggested that they might have decorated the shoulder of a volute krater (1). Two comparable statuettes of seated men wearing mantles are known from Dodona (2). Other statuettes of seated men in himatia are known, although some are classified as Etruscan or South Italian (3). Although much later and more elaborate than the examples discussed so far, the best intact representation of figures seated on the shoulder of a volute krater is the Derveni krater (4).


1. See Kunstwerke der Antike: Auktion 60, Münzen und Medaillen AG (Basel) Sept. 21, 1982, lots 98-99. The commentary for the two statuettes mentions a third in the National Museum of Lebanon, Beirut, said to be from the same findspot. The Beirut statuette, also bearded, is wrapped in a himation but rests his left elbow on his left knee and raises his hand to touch his face.

2. See S. Karusu, “ΤΕΧΝΟΥΡΓΟΙ ΚΡΑΤΗΡΩΝ: Fragmente bronzener Volutenkratere,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Athenische Abteilung 94 (1979): 77-91, esp. 83, pls. 20-21.

3. Compare The Morven Collection of Ancient Art, Christie’s (New York) June 8, 2004, lot 420; and Antiquities, Sotheby’s (London) July 17-18, 1985, lot. 199, two statuettes representing a youth that are either the same object (drastically cleaned between sales) or were made from the same mold.

4. See B. Barr-Sharrar, The Derveni Krater Masterpiece of Classical Greek Metalwork (Princeton, 2008).

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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