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Woman from a Palmyrene sarcophagus

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Summary

The woman depicted was probably a part of a large sarcophagus, now detached by the waist. The surface of the portrait is slightly weathered and fragments are missing from her coiffure and the bracelet on her left arm. She is portrayed frontally, with her head turning slightly towards her left side. She is wearing a tunic and her veil or himation is wrapped around her body and attached to the back of her head. She is adorned with jewellery.

Description of object

The woman depicted was probably a part of a larger banqueting relief, now detached by the waist. The surface of the portrait is slightly weathered and fragments are missing from her coiffure and the bracelet on her left arm. She is portrayed frontally, with her head turning slightly towards her left side.

She has piled-up hair. Slightly waved hair is visible on both sides of her head, covering her ears. The locks are indicated by horizontal ridges. The coiffure raises upwards in twisted locks and on the top of her head, a thick, twisted lock is positioned, almost resembling a small crown. The woman’s forehead is slightly protruding and her eyebrows are indicated by ridges and a dark pigment. Her nose is wide and the mouth is narrow. The chin is wide and a horizontal groove on her neck implicates a line. She is wearing a short-sleeved tunic with a rounded neckline. A veil is wrapped around her. The veil is attached to the back of her head and the veil falls down in a large fold running across the chest from right towards and over her left shoulder. The folds are indicated by ridges. The right arm under proportioned and is held down her side, slightly flexed completely covered by the veil. Her right hand is clenched around the garment, with the index finger extended, pointing downwards. The left arm is flexed in front of the torso, with the left hand grasping the veil. The middle and ring fingers are flexed, the rest are extended. Fingernails are indicated. The woman is wearing earrings, the so-called dumbbell-shaped earrings, with a bead attached to a chain. A plain necklace, with a large circular pendant, is sitiuated close to her neck. Furthermore, she is wearing a large bracelet around her left wrist. The bracelet has a central, oval inlay.

Choice of methods

Visual examination

  • Macroscopic

Bibliography

Ingholt Archive

H. Ingholt (1928), Studier over Palmyrensk Skulptur, København, 142, PS 450.

H. Ingholt (1935), Five Dated Tombs from Palmyra, Berytus II, 69-70, pl. XXXI,2.

K. Parlasca (1987), Ein antoninischer Frauenkopf aus Palmyra, in Frel, J. et. al. (eds.) Ancient portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Volume 1, Malibu, 108-110, abb. 2.

F.O. Hvidberg-Hansen & G. Ploug (1993), Palmyra Samlingen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, København, 133, no. 87.

G. Ploug (1995), Catalogue of Palmyrene Sculptures, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 212-214, no. 87.

S. Krag (2016), Females in group portraits in Palmyra, in Kropp, A and Raja, R. (eds.), The World of Palmyra, Palmyrene Studies 1, Copenhagen, 190, fig. 6.

S. Krag (2018), Funerary Representations of Palmyrene Women. From the First Century BC to the Third Century AD, Studies in Classical Archaeology 3, Turnhout, 73, 381, cat. no. 805.

  • IN 1150
  • Portrait
  • c. 210-230 C.E.
  • Roman Imperial
  • Limestone
  • Puttmann in Syria.
  • H: 58 cm.; W: 29 cm.; D: 24 cm.

Selected photos

  • _w9a4661
  • _w9a4663
  • _w9a4664
  • _w9a4667
  • _w9a4668

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  • Photograph by Anders Sune Berg