Sculpture of Female with Egyptianizing Headdress


About this object

Statuette of a female wearing an Egyptian-style headdress. The woman body is posed frontally but her head turns dramatically to the left. Both arms are stretched out in the same plane as the torso . Both hands probably held attributes, now lost. She wears a sleeveless garment that reaches her calf. From the side the garment appears like a chiton but at the front and back the bodice has textured wavy lines, like ripples of a sheer fabric. The upper torso drapery is with diagonal folds, a vertical swag hangs from the left shoulder in a strong zig zag pattern. The skirt also has vertical folds which project dramatically forward and down. She wears a headress with a peak at the back of the crown and the hair falls in a ponytail onto the back. There are two rows of corkscrew curls at the back and sides.
The statue is of a peculiar iconographical type and there are only a few parallels. It was sold to Blundell as a Bacchante and then it was reinterpreted as Venus Victrix looking at a small Nike in her left hand.
The statue was formerly in the collection displayed at the Villa Mattei in Rome.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    2nd Century AD
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    870 mm x 540 mm
  • Note
    Negative number N71.673 Blundell identified it as Venus Victrix the Victorious Mother and although he discussed the headress he failed to make the association with Egyptian influence. Furtwangler associated her with Hellenistic Alexandria because of her eastern costume and the Libyan curls, a priestess in the service of Ammon at Egyptian Thebes. Ashmole accepted the figure as of Greco-Egyptian period. Bartman commented that the headdress has other equivalents (kekyphalos) but the lack of any attributes makes it difficult to identify. Bartman suggested a dancer, if the position of the hands is correct, with Egypto Roman parallels. The formal style of the statue suggests a cultic function.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Ciriaco Mattei ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

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Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
  • Ciriaco Mattei

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1614
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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