Bust of a child

Imperial Period
about A.D. 200

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Lazio, Rome


Height x width: 37 x 30 cm (14 9/16 x 11 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, from Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias)

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)


The Ancient World



This bust is framed by a circle of heavy drapery meant to suggest a palla or cloak that was commonly worn over the tunic. The tunic is buttoned at the shoulder under the draped edge of the cloak. This combination of clothing, the palla and tunic, was worn only by women.

The strands of hair are deeply cut and show a hairstyle where the hair is trimmed short over the ears and left long to curl at the back. This sort of hairstyle was used by both male and female children from at least the first century CE.

The child has incised brows, wide eyes, drilled pupils, a small mouth, and plump cheeks.

The bust is in good condition and was carved with the head flattened in back and a hollow under the shoulders. There is a marble wedge at the center. The end of the nose has been restored, the lips are chipped, and there are small nicks in the surface.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8441: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.7 / delta18O -2.7,

Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 13 (January 30, 2012): maximum grain size: 0.4mm; electron paramagnetic resonance: intensity 4.2%, line width 58.4%; color 84%

Attribution - Göktepe 3, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, pure white, low EPR intensity

Probability of correct quarry assignment (Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 13; January 30, 2012):

distance of sample from center of quarry probability field: 4.2; relative probability: 97%; absolute probability 64%


By 1873: recorded by Michaelis in the Margam Park Collection, near Cardiff, Wales; by date unknown: with Acanthus Gallery, New York; January 1993: purchased from Acanthus Gallery by Jean-Luc Chalmin, 8 Groom Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7BA; purchased by MFA from Jean-Luc Chalmin, May 25, 1994

Credit Line

Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund