Triple-bodied Hekate

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 50–200


Catalogue Raisonné

Greek, Etruscan, & Roman Bronzes (MFA), no. 104; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 120 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height: 17.6 cm (6 15/16 in.)

Accession Number

64.6

Medium or Technique

Bronze

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Hecate wears Doric chiton with long peplos-like overfold, a wreath-like belt, a polos with three stars, and crescent on top. Two of the figures, with long tresses, hold snakes; the third held two torches. Brown patina; two attributes above polos, two snakeheads, and the two torches are missing. So also much of two of the feet.
Hecate is a goddess of the earth, the underworld and the moon. She carries torches and snakes while stars and a lunar crescent ornament her headdress. She is generally associated with uncanny things and the ghost world and is worshipped at gateways and crossroads, which seem to be haunted the world over. Her triple body enables her to see along all lines of approach.

Provenance

By date unknown: said to have been found on the island of Aegina; by 1820s/1830s?: Fauvel Collection?, Athens (drawn by O. von Stackelberg as pl. 72 of Die Graeber des Hellenen, published in 1837); by date unknown: Azeez Khayat Collection; by 1963: with Susette Khayat, 505 Fifth Avenue, New York; purchased by MFA from Susette Khayat, January 8, 1964

Credit Line

Edwin E. Jack Fund