Idealized head of a veiled woman

Early Hellenistic Period
about 300–280 B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 109; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 109 (additional published references).


Height: 44.5 cm (17 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Black basalt probably from the Fayum oasis (traces of red paint in the hair)

Not On View


The Ancient World



Head and shoulders have been carved in a very high relief, designed to be seen primarily in right profile or from three-quarters front (toward the right eye). The left side of the hair and veil, and the corresponding parts of the head and neck, are roughly finished with a pointed instrument traditional to Egyptian sculpture. The front, at the base of the neck, is chipped and broken irregularly. The right side is similarly damaged. The underside or bottom has been finished roughly, like the left side of the drapery. The surfaces of face and veil have been smoothed and are finished with a dull polish.


By 1972: with Robin Symes, 3 Ormond Yard, Duke of York Street, London W1 (said to have been found in the Fayoum and to have been purchased by Mr. Symes from a private collection in Zurich); purchased by MFA from Robin Symes, December 12, 1973

Credit Line

John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund