Ancient Art

Head of a Woman

ca. A.D. 170–230

Limestone

32.5 x 26 x 25 cm (12 13/16 x 10 1/4 x 9 13/16 in.)
Gift of Vicomtesse d’Andurain
1931.135
This limestone head of a woman, wearing an ornately rendered headdress, turban, and veil, is surely a fragment of a larger funerary stela, which would originally have included the upper part of her torso as well. Wavy locks of hair flow from beneath the headdress, brushed from a central part out toward both sides of head before disappearing behind the veil. Eyebrows have been incised above her large, almond-shaped eyes. A straight nose (mostly broken off) points down toward a small mouth. Her full face sits atop a neck marked with three distinct folds of skin, known as “Venus rings.” Painted in vivid colors, limestone funerary reliefs like this one served as grave markers for the wealthy inhabitants of Palmyra, a caravan city located in Roman Syria.
Culture: 
Palmyra
Period: 
Roman
Classification: 
Sculpture
Status: 
On view*
Provenance: 

Gift of Vicomtesse d'Andurain

Bibliography: 

Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2011), 375, no. 74, pl. 74.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.