Oval gem with portrait of Marciana

Imperial Period
late 1st–early 2nd century


Length: 14 mm (9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)


Jewelry, The Ancient World



Intaglio. Portrait bust of Marciana, the elder sister of Trajan, in profile to the left. She has a lofty three-tiered coiffure. At the back of the head, the remaining hair has been twisted into a large nest of braids. This entire mass is backed by a diadem. She wears no jewelry, has a straight nose, and fleshy chin and cheek. She wears a cloak (stola). The identification as Marciana is based upon her unique three-tiered, scalloped hairstyle


From the 18th century collections of Lord Chesterfield and Lord Bessborough and later the collection of George 3rd Duke of Marlborough; by 1875: David Bromilow collection; by 1899: collection of Mrs. Jary; 1899: with Christie, Manson & Woods, 8 King Street, St. James's Square, London (auction of the Marlborough Collection, June 26-29, 1899, lot 454, citing Bessb. Cat. no. 1 c for the Chesterfield collection and "Marlborough Gems," vol. 1, 1780, no. 19); 1899: with Edward Perry Warren; 1899: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 16,502.52 (this figure is the total price for MFA 99.101-99.119)

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund