Female votive head - ROM2010_11485_59


Female votive head

Medium:Earthenware (terracotta) made from a two-part, front and back, mould
Geography: Probably Caere, Etruria (present-day Cerveteri) Italy
Date: about 460-450 BC
Period: Etruscan
29.4 x 22.2 cm
Object number: 924.81.2
On view
Gallery Location:Eaton Gallery of Rome - Bratty Exhibit of Etruria

The Etruscans dedicated thousands of votive offerings in temples and sanctuaries as a way of thanking or seeking help from the patron deity. The most common types were mass produced, mould-made terracotta heads, body parts and swaddled infants. Terracotta heads probably stood for the devotees who dedicated them. These heads were not true portraits since they were mass made rather, they served as a satisfactory likeness of the person who the deity would recognize for their pious act of devotion.

The female figure is shown frontal, with hair combed in small horizontal waves over the forehead, descending in same wavy style in front of the ears; she wears an elaborate multiple headdress consisting of a plain ribbon or taenia visible from ear to ear, a thick wreath of leaves (olive?) and berries above the taenia, all topped by a plain diadem or stephane artfully tied round the head so that, at the back, it encloses a bun at the nape of the neck. Two necklaces encircle the neck: a plain, solid one above and a similar one with a suspended circular bulla in the centre, below.

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