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Lot 0009A
Egypt, Romano-Egyptian, ca. 1st century BCE to 2nd century CE. A haunting, skillfully sculpted stucco portrait head with wide-open, glass eyes. The figure has a well-shaped nose and full closed lips, with a close-trimmed mustache and beard as well as a head of tightly curled hair. Colorful paint remains on the face, lips, and hair, giving the impression of a darker skinned man with dark brown hair and dark pink lips. The face is lifelike, the glass eyes startlingly real, so that it is easy to imagine the man whose ancient portrait this is. Custom block stand. Size: 5.25" L x 5.75" W x 8.25" H (13.3 cm x 14.6 cm x 21 cm)

Heads like this one reflect the profound change that the Greco-Roman world brought to Egypt. The naturalistic depiction of a person's face as a plaster mask or even full head replaced the stylized art of dynastic Egypt; hieroglyphs and other symbols painted on elaborate sarcophagi fell out of favor, and this head would have been a memorial alongside a simple wooden coffin. These heads were reserved for the elite, who were buried in small chapels, usually mummified and with other members of their family and/or town.

See a similar example that sold for $12,500 at Christie's New York in 2012: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/an-egyptian-painted-plaster-mummy-mask-roman-5567173-details.aspx

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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Small losses around the back. Some repair and restoration (with overpainting) around the eyes, where the glass was reattached. Modern plaster has also been used to attach the interior of the back of the head to a stand. Pigment is in excellent condition for its age, with some surace pitting/wear as shown.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Romano-Egyptian Stucco Head of a Man w/ Glass Eyes

Estimate $8,000 - $12,000Jun 20, 2018
686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States
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