Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1926.21.16
Title
Standing Draped Woman
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture, statuette
Date
3rd-2nd century BCE
Places
Creation Place: Europe, Greece
Period
Hellenistic period
Culture
Greek
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/291965
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Terracotta
Technique
Mold-made
Dimensions
19 × 6.7 × 7.9 cm (7 1/2 × 2 5/8 × 3 1/8 in.)
Provenance
Mr. and Mrs. Percy A . Straus; gift to Fogg Art Museum, 1926.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Percy S. Straus
Accession Year
1926
Object Number
1926.21.16
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Mostly complete figurine; missing a small part of the base.

Standing young woman, draped. Her hair is drawn back in a complicated hairdo, similar to “melon” style: separated into four sections, twisted, and brought back into a small bun at the nape. Each section is crowned by a smaller bun or ornament (likely ivy berries), with separate locks of curly hair framing the face. Small head, cocked slightly to the left, while looking right. Regular features. Oval face with a small forehead. Small eyes with both lids rendered in relief; small, straight nose; small, closed mouth. Short chin meets the neck at a 90-degree angle.

She wears a long chiton and a closely wrapped himation (or mantle) that forms a sling for her left arm. Right arm akimbo. Right leg engaged, with left knee bent; she appears to lean back slightly. Plain shoes, with right foot pointing forward, and the left to the side. In combination with the angle of the head, the pose suggests a modest and demure nature.

Would have been painted originally, now only traces of white ground extant.

Hollow. Mold-made in two bivalve molds, plaster. The back is modeled but shallow. Small, round venthole at the upper back. Detailing of hair incised. Attached to a square, narrow base.

The clay is bright brick-red and finely levigated; hard-fired.
Commentary
This demure young woman has a twin in our collection (1926.21.12). Both figurines were made using the same molds for the body and for the head, but because those were attached at different angles the end products are unique. This woman is modest; her sister is more self-assured.

People tend to think of mold-made figurines as mass-produced trinkets that bear little originality or thoughtfulness, but that could not be farther from the truth. Not only can mold-casting be an arduous endeavor, but the artists that made figurines using molds applied a great deal of creativity to their craft. Heads can be moved or exchanged, hairdos updated, accessories added... and one must not forget about the colors! Figurines were brightly painted in antiquity; even a limited palette of pigments could produce a fun variety of hues to play with.
Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu