Demeter–Io–Isis

Roman Provincial
Imperial Period
A.D. 160–200


Place of Manufacture: Egypt (probably)

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 189; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 112 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height: 81 cm (31 7/8 in.)

Accession Number

1970.242

Medium or Technique

Marble, Dolomitic from the Greek Island of Thasos

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Demeter wears a mantle covering her head and wrapped tightly over her dress. In her left hand are two ears of wheat and a pomegranate, and on her head is a grain basket embellished with a sun disc. With her right hand she originally supported a tall torch, which was set into pin holes on the sculpture’s base. The arm and torch were replaced in antiquity, making use of an iron clamp behind the shoulder. Right arm now missing from shoulder.
Two small horns emerging from her forehead make it clear that she was also the goddess Io, who was turned into a cow and wandered to Egypt. There she was returned to human form. Io was identified by the Greeks with the Egyptian goddess Isis.
Scientific Analysis:
Marble has been scientifically tested with X-Ray Diffraction and determined to be Dolomitic.
Harvard Lab No. HI365: Isotope ratios - delta13C +3.95 / delta18O -4.59, Attribution - Thasos-Cape Vathy, Justification - Dolomitic by XRD.

Provenance

By 1970: Paul E. Manheim Collection (seemingly from Rome); gift of Paul E. Manheim to MFA, March 11, 1970

Credit Line

Gift of Paul E. Manheim