- Museum number
Terracotta figure of a slave seated on an altar.
A slave taking refuge, seated on an altar; a stock figure of the Greek Comedy. The altar has a flat front and lower mouldings, its top ending in a bolster. The actor has a mask with a trumpet mouth and wears a conical cap, a pilos; he looks down to his right. He sits with his legs crossed, leaning to his left, supporting his weight with his right hand. His left arm is bent and is hidden by a himation, one end of which falls to the ground beside him (although this effect may have been caused by paring the clay: the himation may not be as long as it appears); the other end is rolled up and crosses above his paunch, held by a tuck just above his left hand. The back is plain, but pared, and has a square vent. The right leg and foot are damaged, as is part of the altar below them.
Hollow; two-piece mould. Micaceous (very small particles) brown clay with some white grits, probably Athenian; overall traces of a white dressing; minute vestiges of pink paint on the right hand and of red paint on the cap. The square vent suggests a non-Egyptian source. A close comparandum comes from the Black Sea area.
- Production date
Height: 9.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- BM Terracotta IV
Comparanda. The figure has similarities with mid to late fourth-century actors made in many parts of the Greek world. For the subject see Bieber 1961: 104–5, especially figs 406 and 410–12. Very close: Koshelenko 1984: 308, pl. cxviii:1, from Olbia. Green 1980: 128, no. 37 suggests that the last is Athenian, as do Webster, Green and Seeberg 1995: 222. Near: Webster 1978: pl. ii:XT 15, said to be from Kertch, dated c.350–325 bc. Compare also Breccia 1930: pl. xxxi:6, a slave wearing a similar cap, but with his knees drawn up to his chin.
Bibliog. Nicholson 1968: pl. 26:151, dated third century bc; Webster 1969: 105, ET 28, dated early Hellenistic; Webster 1978: 187, ET 1 (‘after 325’ bc); Christie’s Sale Catalogue, 13 July 1983: lot 356; Vassilika 1992: 270, no. 36; Webster, Green and Seeberg 1995: 222; Cook 1995: 228.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number