- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Small Female Head
- Work Type
- sculpture, statuette
- 5th-2nd century BCE
- Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
- Classical period to Hellenistic
- Greek or Etruscan
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Cast, lost-wax process
- 2.3 x 1.6 x 0.2 cm (7/8 x 5/8 x 1/16 in.)
- Technical Details
Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 87.93; Sn, 11.42; Pb, 0.47; Zn, 0.002; Fe, 0.08; Ni, 0.02; Ag, 0.01; Sb, 0.06; As, less than 0.10; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.007; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
Technical Observations: The surface is heavily mineralized and has been transformed into a very porous, green amorphous mass and full of cracks and chips—most noticeably on the tip of the nose—that expose a red cuprite layer.
The head is a solid cast and was made in one piece. Some very fine details in the face and the curls on the back of the head are visible through the corrosion, and these details must have been worked both in the wax and the metal stages.
Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)
- Aimée and Rosamond Lamb, Milton, MA (by 1955), gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1955.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Misses Aimée and Rosamond Lamb
- 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
The bottom of this small female head is flat, with no evidence of breakage (1). The woman’s hair is pulled into topknot on top of head and rolls around side and back of head (2). Corrosion obscures most of the face, but the molded eyes have top and bottom lids, and the lips of the mouth are visible. The nose is simple, regular, and thin.
The use of this head is uncertain; it has been suggested that it was a pendant, but no trace of a means of suspension have been found. Other small copper alloy heads have tangs extending below the neck for insertion into another object, such as a separately made body or bust (3).
1. For another small head, perhaps representing Bacchus, of similar size and with a neck terminus that is very similar to this piece, see A. Kaufmann-Heinimann, Götter und Lararien aus Augusta Raurica: Herstellung, Fundzusammenhänge und sakrale Funktion figürlicher Bronzen in einer römischen Stadt, Forschungen in Augst 26 (Augst, 1998) 115, no. S18.
2. Compare 1970.21, head of a woman, perhaps the goddess Aphrodite.
3. See a small head in the collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, inv. no. Fr. 1552 c 1, in E. Richardson, Etruscan Votive Bronzes: Geometric, Orientalizing, Archaic (Mainz, 1983) 153, no. 17, fig. 347.
Lisa M. Anderson
- Subjects and Contexts
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