Head of a Young Woman from a Grave Monument

about 320 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Originally part of a funerary monument, this head of a girl displays facial features and a hairstyle typical of Athenian sculpture in the late 300s B.C. The girl's oval face, small, bow-shaped mouth, and deep-set, thick-lidded eyes derive from features made popular in the preceding decades in the work of the sculptor Praxiteles. She wears her hair parted in rows, braided and pulled back, a style called a melon coiffure by scholars. On the girl's neck, there are two widely spaced fleshy rings with an indentation between them, so-called "Venus rings." This trait was probably a status symbol, indicating the health and good nutrition provided by wealth. This head was made separately and inserted into a body carved in relief on the back slab of a naiskos, or small three-sided funerary monument. The flat surfaces on the back of the head rested against the slab. They show that the girl was posed in a three-quarter frontal view.


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