Portrait of a woman

Imperial Period
about A.D. 98–117, hair recut about A.D. 110–125

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), no. 000. (frontispiece)


Height: 36 cm (14 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, probably from the Greek island of Paros

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)


The Ancient World



The drill holes in the lower tier of flat curls are a remnant of the original hairdo, which dates to the Flavian period; similar holes are evident on the back of the current crest. The complete Flavian honeycomb hairdo of drilled, spongelike curls was later recut in the Trajanic or early Hadrianic period into the style seen here. At the peak of the current crest there is an indentation into which a separately carved addition of curls, now lost, could be inserted, and on the back of the head there an iron pin projects for the attachment of a separately carved bun.

Root marks and other minor incrustations are present on the surface of the marble. The nose was broken, but otherwise the piece is in good condition. An iron pin emerges from the back of the head.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI240: Isotope ratios - delta13C +5.08 / delta18O -3.39, Attribution - Paros 1, Justification - White, coarse-grained marble. Petrographic Analysis - maximum grain size (1.8mm).


By 1988: with NFA Antiquities, 10100 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90067 (said to have been in a Swiss private collection prior to 1970); purchased by MFA from NFA Antiquities, June 15, 1988

Credit Line

Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund