Description: Protome

Many of the details on this clay protome (proh-TOHM) appear in low relief, a shallow three-dimensional effect created from a mold. Notice her thick wavy hair parted in the middle, her delicate face, and her arms and hands. Her veil’s decorative border and the neck of her tunic still preserve their painted details, but her right hand likely held a painted flower, now lost.

She may represent a worshipper, honoring a god or goddess at a temple, or the image of a goddess herself. If the artist intended this protome to represent the goddess Persephone (per-SEH-foh-nee), youthful queen of the underworld, the flower might have been a poppy, symbolic of the eternal sleep of death.

  • Culture: Greek; Probably made in Boeotia
  • Created: ca. 450—425 BCE
  • Credit Line: June Alexander Memorial Fund and Tribute Fund, 88.5