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A black and white image of a terracotta sculpture depicting a clustered group of seven standing people. All of their faces have large smiles on them and are close together. Their arms are around each other.

A black and white image of a terracotta sculpture on a white background The sculpture depicts a clustered group of seven standing people with four people in the front row and three in the back row, the back row’s faces are above the front row’s. All of their faces have large smiles on them, short hair, and are close together facing the viewer. Their arms are around each other. The front row people are dressed in loose, wrinkled garments. They are standing on a square platform.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Group of Actors
Work Type
sculpture, statuette
1st to 3rd century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Roman Imperial period, Early
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

13.2 cm h (5 3/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Dr. Harris Kennedy, Milton, MA (by 1932), gift; to the William Hayes Fogg Art Museum, 1932.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Harris Kennedy, Class of 1894
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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In the Roman period, itinerant troupes of actors performed around Italy and the Roman World. This terracotta model of seven masked actors standing on the upper step of a plinth captures the sense of camraderie in the acting profession. They are bunched together like a modern chorus posing for a photograph, the outer members of the back row grasping the shoulders of their comrades in front of them. Their long-sleeved knee-length tunics and loose trousers may suggest that they are acting the role of a chorus of foreigners.

Label text from Roman Gallery Installation, September 16, 1999 through 2008.

Hard, bright orange-red clay with particles of mica (?). Remnants of white slip. Back sparsely modeled. No venthole. Bottom open.
Group of seven figures standing on a high two-stepped plinth. Two lower central figures seen in entirety wearing loose trousers, knee-length, long-sleeved tunics, and masks. Two flanking outer figures half visible. Masks of three figures in back row visible over heads of front figures. Hand of end figures in back row visible on shoulder of half-visible end figures. Compact group. Back of figures barely distinguishable.

NBR, Master's thesis

Publication History

  • George M. A. Hanfmann, Greek Art and Life, An Exhibition Catalogue, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1950), no. 176.

Exhibition History

  • Greek Art and Life: From the Collections of the Fogg Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Private Lenders, Fogg Art Museum, 03/07/1950 - 04/15/1950
  • Roman Gallery Installation (long-term), Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/16/1999 - 01/20/2008
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/23/2019 - 05/13/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/02/2022; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/22/2022 - 05/08/2022

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Verification Level

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