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Lot 0007A
Roman controlled Egypt, ca. 2nd century CE. A hauntingly lifelike sculpted plaster funerary head of a young female presenting a beautiful face with a dimpled chin, her visage comprised of lined and lashed, large eyes, arched brows, an aquiline nose, closed ruby red lips, and smooth cheeks. Her elaborate, centrally parted coiffure features rolled tresses lining her forehead and running around her head to a braided bun at the back. Her skin is painted in peachy flesh tones, and she wears two necklaces (a green as well as a pink and red painted 'beaded' strand), hoop earrings, and a rose red garment. Size: 9.5" H (24.1 cm); 12" H (30.5 cm) on included custom stand.

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.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Arte Primitivo Gallery, New York, New York, USA; ex-private New York, USA collection; ex-Sotheby's, New York "Antiquities and Islamic Art" Auction (sale 5288, February 8, 1985, lot 275)

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Large original piece of neck reattached with visible breakline. General chipping around the lower edges with losses. Expected surface wear with scuffs and pigment loss as shown. Some restoration to the hair. Hole created on interior to attach to stand.

Buyer's Premium

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Romano-Egyptian Plaster Head of a Woman, ex-Sotheby's

Estimate $10,000 - $15,000Oct 11, 2018