Terracotta protome figure of a woman wearing veil or headdress. Archaic form of protome showing no attempt to indicate the shoulders, arms, or breasts. In front, the body presents a flat surface relieved only by two slightly raised bands of dark colour which seem to mark the border of the veil. Its total length from the chin downwards is about equal to that of the head. The head-dress rises up stiffly from the forehead, and appears to consist of a stephane covered by the veil; the ears, from which hang large circular ornaments, are modelled on its surface. Advanced naturalistic treatment of the hair and facial features; eyes naturalistic, but almond shaped, the forehead and nose presents a slightly curved line; the chin is not dimpled; mouth naturalistic with corner hollows. The hair runs in a number of wavelets along the top of the forehead. Mould-made and hollow. White coating preserved on some areas. Pale red-brown fabric with grey core.
- Production date
- 500BC-450BC (probably)
Height: 12.60 centimetres
Thickness: 1 centimetres
Width: 12 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Found in the '5th century BC' context in the Hellenion (area 14), under the wall of second temple. Gutch dated this piece to the early 5th century BC and supplied a Rhodian provenance (Gutch 1898-9,78, pl.10.10). Early and late 5th century BC parallels are known from Rhodes, in the British Museum (Higgins 1970, nos 141 and 294), though these were imported there from south Ionia. Parallel from Cyzicus, thought to be of early 5th century BC Clazomenean manufacture (Louvre, Paris CA 615).
Protomes (also called busts, shoulder-busts, protome-busts and erroneously ‘masks’) were first made in East Greece around 550BC (Croissant 1983) then Greece (Robinson 1931; 1933; 1952; Szabó 1994) and Magna Graeca (Kilmer 1977, 65-7) in the late Archaic period. The earliest forms simply show the head with a framing veil, though increased complexity and details resulted in half of the figure being represented by the 5th century BC (Mandel & Gossel-Raeck 2004). By the mid-5th century they become less common, though rare finds have been found, in Hellenistic contexts (Kilmer 1977, 66; Smith 1949, 355; Stampolidēs et al. 2011, 383, no. 72). Protomes are primarily found in sanctuaries, graves (possibly reused Kilmer 1977, 68; not used as funeral masks, Smith 1949, 355) and occasionally in domestic contexts (Higgins 1954; Kilmer 1977, 68). Protomes have been interpreted as representations of Hera, Athena, Aphrodite (Aphrodite in Naukratis, Smith 1949, 355, fn. 3, figs. 6 & 7), Demeter or Kore as a chthonic goddess (contra Blinkenberg 1931, 588-9), but are more commonly thought to represent the devotee (ibid; Croissant 1983). Many fragmentary parallels of protomes and protome-busts from Naukratis in Archaic and Classical Greek style in East Greek and local Egyptian fabrics. (Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology NA317- 320; NA323; NA325; NA352-363; NA369; NA377-380; NA382-406; NA408-428; NA430-437; NA439- 442; NA444-5; NA448-9; NA451-2; NA454-457; NA459-464; NA466; NA468-480; NA482-4; NA509; NA750-781; NA783-844; NA846-854; Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum GR.3.1898; GR.20.1899; GR.8.1899; Cairo Egyptian Museum JE34157; JE34156; Champaign Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois 1911.02.0017; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia E184; and the British Museum GR 2011,5009.226; GR 2011, 5009.274-282; GR 2011,5009.287).
Blinkenberg, C. 1931. Lindos. Fouilles de l’Acropole 1902-1914, I. Les petits objets, Berlin.
Croissant, F. 1983. Les protomés féminines Archaïques: Recherches sur les représentations du visage dans la plastique grecque de 550 à 480 av. J.-C. Ecole Française d'Athènes, Athens.
Kilmer, M. F. 1977. The shoulder bust in Sicily and south and central Italy: A catalogue and materials for dating. Studies in Mediterranean archaeology 51, Göteborg.
Mandel, U. & Gossel-Raeck, B. 2004. ‘Votivterrakotten von der pergamenischen Oberburg’, Istanbuler Mitteilungen 54: 311-330.
Robinson, D. M. 1931. Olynthus IV. The terra-cottas of Olynthus found in 1928. Johns Hopkins University studies in archaeology. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press ; London, Humphrey Milford.
Robinson, D. M. 1933. Olynthus VII. The terra-cottas of Olynthus found in 1931. Johns Hopkins University studies in archaeology. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press ; London, Humphrey Milford.
Robinson, D. M. 1952. Olynthus XIV. Terracottas, lamps, and coins found in 1934 and 1938. Johns Hopkins University studies in archaeology. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press; London, Oxford University Press.
Smith , H. R. W. 1949. A Goddess from Lebadeia. In Commemorative Studies in Honor of Theodore Leslie Shear. Hesperia Supplements 8: 353- 360.
Stampolidēs, N. C., Tasoulas, G. & Philēmonos-Tsopotou, M. 2011. Islands off the beaten track: an archaeological journey to the Greek islands of Kastellorizo, Symi, Halki, Tilos and Nisyros. Athens, Museum of Cycladic Art.
Szabó, N. 1975. ‘Contribution à la question des protomes en terre cuite de la Grèce centrale’. Bulletin du Musée Hongrois des Beaux Arts 43: 3-22.
Szabó, N. 1994. Archaic terracottas of Boetia. Studia archaeological, Rome.
- Not on display
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: AN1896-1908-G.68 (Accession Number)