A Terracotta Figure of Isis–Aphrodite, Roman period, 2nd–3rd century AD

This tall, sensuously modeled terracotta figurine represents Aphrodite-Isis, a goddess combining attributes of the Egyptian goddesses Isis and Hathor and the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Although otherwise nude, she wears elaborate accessories, including an exaggerated calathos (the crown of Egyptian Greco-Roman deities). Her long corkscrew curls are arranged in the semblance of a traditional Egyptian hairstyle.  After being formed in a two-part mold, the front of the hollow figurine was dipped in a white engobe (slip), then painted with a white base coat, of which some traces remain.

Similar figures of goddesses and female figures associated with marriage, conception, and childbirth are found throughout the Greco-Roman world. The Egyptian version is distinguished by its compressed, frontal, and rather rigidly upright pose, and by its occurrence in burials. These features relate to pharaonic prototypes whose efficacy seems to have extended into the afterlife for women and men alike.

For related examples see: Charles Ede Limited, Egyptian Antiquities, no. 25, Compare F. Dunand Catalog des terries-cuites greco-romaines d'Egypte, Musee de louvre (Paris 1990) no.331

Condition:  Remains of paint and white slip to one side, intact and in very good condition overall. 

Dimensions:  height:  5 1/2 inches  (14 cm)

Provenance:  Private Chicago collection, acquired from the UK trade in early 2000's and previously in a private UK collection.



Sign up today!