Hairstyles today reveal everything from one’s cultural preferences to one’s social class and age-group. Just so in antiquity. In this particular instance, the woman’s hairstyle reveals that she was an aristocrat since several servants were needed to comb and arrange her elaborate coiffure.

The small acanthus leaves at the base of this portrait are equally revealing. They were used in antiquity to indicate that the sitter had died. They seem to suggest that the deceased will be reborn just as the acanthus leaves are regenerated every spring.


  • Title: Funerary Portrait of a Woman
  • Date Created: ca. 120 C.E. - ca. 130 C.E.
  • Physical Dimensions: w431.8 x h640.08 x d241.3 in
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust
  • Medium: Marble
  • Culture: Roman

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