Etruscan Archaic Polychrome Protome in the Form of a Woman’s Head - X.0040
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 6 th Century BC
Dimensions: 6.5" (16.5cm) high
Collection: Classical
Style: Etruscan
Medium: Terracotta


Our knowledge about the Etruscan civilization is extremely limited. Our understanding of their language is still incomplete and most of the information that is known comes to us through the Romans, their one time subjects who grew to become their masters. The Etruscans lived under a series of autonomous city-states spread out across northern and central Italy. By the 3rd Century B.C., they would be absorbed into the burgeoning Roman Empire. Made from a reddish clay with a cream slip, this exceptionally beautiful head from an antefix has small blue eyes, thin black eyebrows, and thin red lips. Black curls cover her forehead. She wears painted blue and black button earrings, and two necklaces, one a string of beads and the other with pendant beads. Antefixes were placed at the ends of cover tiles that ran along the sides of a building's roof. These polychrome terracotta plaques provided necessary protection from the weather for the wooden framework of the building. This custom was prevalent all over Etruria (the lands of the Etruscan), Latium, and Campania from the 7th century B.C. until the Roman period. In Archaic and Classical times, the Estrucan city of Caere (modern Cerveteri) seems to have been an important center for the production of such works and this protome may very well come from there. - (X.0040)



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