Bust of a Hermaphrodite

59.148.190

About this object

Bust of a hermaphodite. Despite its poor condition especially on the surface of the marble the head is distinct for the delicate carving of the mouth and the eyes. There is no visible hair for the subject and it is difficult to determine whether it's a man or a woman, an ambiguity suitable to the subject of hermaphrodite. The headress means it can be identified as a hermaphrodite as it is found in many similar Roman types. The headress is rising high on the head and folded over a short veil, kept in place by a flat band running across the forehead. Similar Roman types were often parts of double herms. Bartman believed that the Ince piece was broken from a herm, although the state of finish at the back does not indicate a double herm. Bartman compared it to a hemaphrodite statuette from a villa outside Pompei, especially because of its bland asexuality.

The marble has a granular surface that indicates extreme weathering, the nose has been broken but reattached. There are restorations on the entire bust, the outer edges and lower part of the veil on both sides, the nose. The outer edge of the veil on the right were once doweled in place but have now disappeared.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Art
  • Culture
    Roman
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Materials
    Marble
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Date collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Measurements
    480 mm x 230 mm x 220 mm
  • Note
    Fragments from veil stored with bust. Blundell mistook the bust because of the veil as an indicator of the goddess Vesta. None of the other hermaphrodites from the Blundell collection wears this type of veil and they are both much more feminine with long hair and delicate details on the face than 59.148.190. Bartman suggested that the serious expression of this bust may indicate that the figure was used in a ritual function in a domestic or public context. Bartman notes that a similar example have been found in a Pompeian Thermopolium and that Hermaphrodites associated with fertility, ofteh included a Bacchus.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell (Collector, previous owner); Joseph William Col Sir Weld (Previous owner)

Explore related

Publications

  • A Catalogue of the Ancient Marbles at Ince Blundell Hall

    Ashmole, Bernard

    Author: Ashmole, Bernard
    Publisher: Clarendon Press
    Date: 1929
    Description: An illustrated catalogue of the ancient sculptures collected by Henry Blundell and formerly at Ince Blundell Hall.

  • An Account of the Statues, Busts, Bass Relieves, Cinerary Urns, and other ancient marbles, and paintings at Ince. Collected by H.B.

    Blundell, Henry

    Author: Blundell, Henry
    Publisher:
    Date: 1803
    Description:

  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Michaelis, A

    Author: Michaelis, A
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Date: 1882
    Description:

  • The Ince Blundell collection of classical sculpture Volume III-The ideal sculpture

    Bartman, Elizabeth

    Author: Bartman, Elizabeth
    Publisher: Liverpool University Press
    Date: 2017
    Description:

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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