A Roman alabaster draped female torso

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Lot 52* W
A Roman alabaster draped female torso

Sold for £ 27,600 (US$ 35,690) inc. premium
A Roman alabaster draped female torso
Circa 1st Century A.D.
Composed of four segments of solid banded alabaster, depicting a female figure wearing a Doric peplos in the early Greek style, the drapery deeply carved and falling in a 'v'-shape at the neck, the additional drapery hung over her left shoulder and fastened with a circular brooch on the shoulder, with overhanging folds at the waist 'apoptygma', forming a pouch or 'kolpos', her right knee bent, a large circular depression at the neck and left shoulder for attachment of the limbs and head, each segment with a central square peg hole for attachment, 26½in (67.4cm) high, with some plaster restorations, and an old export tag

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Formerly in the Cesare Della Seta Collection, accompanied by two original export tags, stamped, 'Ufficio Esportaz...Roma, Arte Antica', the other with 'Dogane' (customs).

    Exhibited:
    On loan to the University of Melbourne, Australia, March 1988 - July 2003.

    Literature:
    For other statuary carved from alabaster cf. Exhibition catalogue, i marmi colorati della Roma imperiale, (Ed. Marsilio, Venezia 2002), fig. 11, Statuetta di Iside, and for the type of Egyptian veined alabaster, see the vessels, fig.68-70. There is also similar banded alabaster draped torso in the Vatican Collection, along with many examples of Roman bust socles carved from the same material. For the type of drapery on Greek sculpture, cf. J. Boardman, Greek Sculpture of the Classical Period, (London 1995), fig.209. It is hard to tell if the piecing of this statue is ancient or later, however it is a technique that was used in ancient times. A Claudian statue at Cyrene (Libya) is pieced in a similar fashion, although not of alabaster, it's carved of Thasian marble which was in short supply in inland Cyrenaica. It is also a technique which was used in architecture for Doric fluted column shafts. On this statue, the recessed holes between each segment imply that a wooden peg would perhaps have been inserted between each segment to provide stability for the overall sculpture.
A Roman alabaster draped female torso
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