Miniature portrait of Domitia Longina (?).
Neck restored in plaster
Faience (?), plaster (restoration). 5,6 cm
Inventory number: H1445
This portrait of a woman is made in faience, a special form of pottery. Faience was used for royal portraits from the Hellenistic period and well into the Roman period. The portrait has a complicated coiffure consisting of three elements: a hair band across the forehead and on top of this a high toupee consisting of three rows of curls, while at the back of the head there are more plaits arranged in a bun. This coiffure was popular in the second half of the 1st century AD, which helps us to date this head. The head thus represents a woman belonging to the elite of this period, possibly Domitia Longina, the wife of the Emperor Domitian (AD 81–96). Miniature portraits in costly materials were mainly used in private settings. Here, they typically stood on the domestic altars, but they could also be found elsewhere in the house, for instance in the formal dining room, the triclinium, in a Roman house.