Votive head of a woman.
Etrusco-Roman, 325 BC-275 BC
Fired clay with traces of brown colour. 20,5 cm
Inventory number: H1006
The back of this woman’s head is covered by a veil, which is seen as a thick, projecting border around her face. A pearl necklace encircles her neck. The head is a votive gift, a sacrifice to the gods. Votive heads are often found in sanctuaries in Central Italy, whence this head probably stems. The heads presumably represented the actual persons making the offering. However, they are not individual portraits, but mass-produced, moulded products. The custom of offering votive heads came originally from Corinth in Greece and was presumably introduced into Italy by the Etruscans in the 4th century BC. The veil, however, suggests influence from Roman religion, as, in contrast to the Greeks and Etruscans, the Romans always covered their heads when making sacrifices. Thanks to stylistic features in common with Greek sculpture from the 3rd century BC, the head can be dated to the end of the 3rd century or beginning of the 2nd BC.