Marble head of a woman

Greek, about 550-520 BC
From the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos, modern Turkey

This female face is one of the most beautiful of the surviving fragments from the Archaic Temple of Artemis at Ephesos. It was originally in profile and joined to the relief background by its right side. The smoothly rounded contours, the fleshy broad nostrils and the long lips, gently curving upwards at their outer corners into a subtle smile, are all typical characteristics of east Greek Archaic sculpture. The long, almond-shaped eyes preserve faint remains of the painted pupils of the eye.

The head may come from one of the temple's sculptured piers rather than from a circular column drum: the face is larger in scale than that on some of the other heads from the temple, for example the head of a woman with an elaborate hairstyle, also in The British Museum.

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More information


U. Muss, Die Bauplastik des archäischen (Vienna, Eigenverlag des Österreichischen Archäologischen Instituts, 1994)

L. Burn, The British Museum book of G-1, revised edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

F.N. Pryce, Catalogue of sculpture in the (London, 1928)


Height: 19.000 cm

Museum number

GR 1873.5-5.43 (Sculpture B 89)


Excavated by John Turtle Wood


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