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Young woman

© J.-F. Peiré
© J.-F. Peiré
This high-quality bust is very delicate.
It belongs to a series of private effigies that can be located during the reign of Emperor Hadrian.

The soft eyes allow us to date this work before 130. Incision of the iris and the pupil does not appear before this date. The hairstyle is equally typical of this period: a “crown” of hair resembling a turban is created with a group of superimposed braids, allowing the top of the head to show. The shape given to the part delineating the scalp, resembling a bird’s nest, is similar to that seen in certain portraits of Sabina, Hadrian’s wife.  Similarly, this style is represented in numerous private effigies from this period.
It is indeed the empresses who set the tone and spirit of the hairstyle trends.

Coins naturally play a significant role in this domain, diffusing the image of the emperor’s wife on the obverse like images of certain palace’s princesses. These highly sophisticated hair styles, without confirming it for this portrait, allow us to imagine the frequent use of hairpieces, a valuable aid in the daily ornamentation, placed and styled by a dedicated slave, the ornatrix.

The bust is cut very low and reveals the small chest of this very young woman. The cloak (palla) is turned-back on a tunic (stola), kept at the base of the neck and probably made of linen of which one perceives the quality of the fibers.

Marble bust of a young woman discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan (Martres-Tolosane, Haute-Garonne).
Circa 120-130.
Inv. Ra 77.
Lu 432 fois

Tolosa's gold age | Chiragan | Necropolis