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Terracotta group of two women

 

Height: 20.500 cm
Length: 25.500 cm

GR 1885.3-16.1 (Terracotta C 529)

Room 22: Alexander the Great

    Terracotta group of two women

    Hellenistic, around 100 BC
    Probably from Myrina, western Asia Minor (modern Turkey)

    The two women lean together on their comfortable-looking couch with its finely turned legs, rugs and plump cushions. They seem deep in conversation, and perhaps represent a mother (the older looking woman to the right) advising her daughter.

    Groups of two women, usually standing, were a popular subject at Myrina. They may have been intended for ordinary people, perhaps even members of the family to which the dead person belonged. The figures may also represent the underworld goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone.

    The colours on this group are unusually well preserved. Both the underlying white slip, and the vivid pinks, blues and reds, were added after firing. The deep pink is rose-madder, obtained from the root of the plant Rubia tinctorum; the lighter pink on the flesh is a mixture of red ochre and chalk; the blue is a substance known as Egyptian blue, or blue frit, made by heating a mixture of silica, a compound of copper (probably malachite), chalk and natron (a type of salt).

    R.A. Higgins, Greek terracottas (London, Methuen, 1967)

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    On display: Room 22: Alexander the Great

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