c. 193-211 AD. Roman Terracotta flask in the shape of a woman’s head. Comprising of an oval-shaped face featuring a small, elegant nose and rich lips, framed by a particularly elaborate curled coiffure. From a central parting, the subject’s hair descends in parallel waves to then be gathered up in a large bun, made up of interwoven locks of hair, which radiate down the head, and is pulled into buns on the top and to the rear. The hairdo is ornamented with a string of stylised beads intended to depict the richness of imperial jewellery.
This particular hairstyle allows us to identify the figure as Julia Domna. Julia Domna (c. 160-217) was empress consort from 193-211 in her capacity as the wife of emperor Septimius Severus. She was mother of future emperors Caracalla and Geta, though she took her own life in 217 when she heard of Caracalla’s assassination while on campaign against the Persians. Julia was famed for her political, social and philosophical influence during her lifetime and afterwards, and is very much the archetype of an important middle imperial woman. Very good condition.
Size: L:115mm / W:75mm ; 165g
Provenance: Property of a professional London art expert; obtained from an old British collection formed before 2000.