Western Greece, Rhodes, Archaic period, ca. 7th to 5th century BCE. An elegant terracotta protome depicting a lovely goddess, perhaps Circe since she is holding a wand in one hand and a pig in the other. Circe is best known for an episode of Homer's "Odyssey" in which she transformed Odysseus' men into swine. Circe presents well-modeled facial features including a subtle Archaic smile, almond-shaped eyes, an aquiline nose, and a rounded chin - this visage crowned by a centrally parted wavy coiffure and wearing a polos. A lovely example that speaks to the importance of female religious figures in ancient Greece. Size: 9.5" W x 11.75" H (24.1 cm x 29.8 cm); 13.5" H (34.3 cm) on included custom stand.
A protome is a type of bust made by pressing a thin layer of terracotta into a single mold. These were first made in Rhodes, but from the early fifth century BCE onwards they spread throughout Greece. Originally, this piece would have been painted in vibrant colors; this said, the monochrome clay body is pleasing to us today.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1970s
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