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Identification and Creation
Object Number
1955.131
Title
Small Female Head
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture, statuette
Date
5th-2nd century BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
Period
Classical period to Hellenistic
Culture
Greek or Etruscan
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/311338
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bronze
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
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
J. Riederer

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)

Provenance
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
1955
Object Number
1955.131
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

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).

NOTES:

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

Ancient Bronzes

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