Classical World, Etruria, central Italy, ca. 2nd century BCE. A fascinating architectural antefix, made from a coarse, red terracotta, molded and painted to form a woman's face. She is pale, with thin, arched black brows, black-outlined eyes with large pupils, and black hair that parts in the center of her forehead and hangs down the sides of her face. Black curlicues create her ears. She has a thin nose and her mouth is upturned into a close-mouthed smile that, to this modern viewer, gives her a mischievous look. Size: 5.25" W x 6" H (13.3 cm x 15.2 cm); 8.5" H (21.6 cm) on included custom stand.
The Etruscans used antefixes to protect and conceal the terracotta tiles along the eaves of a roof, as well as to serve an apotropaic function and ward off bad influences. These were mold-made and almost always in the form of a male or female head. Many of these were made in the workshops at Caere (Cerveteri) in southern Etruria.
See a similar example at Christie's from 2012 which sold for for GBP 12,500 (approximately USD 17,000): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ancient-art-antiquities/an-etruscan-terracotta-antefix-circa-6th-5th-century-5546887-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5546887&sid=cdcbf690-ff26-4f0b-ba3d-33dc16911855
Provenance: private Florida, USA collection, purchased in 1981 from antiquities shop in Rome, Italy
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