Collection Online

Bust of a woman
late 3rd century AD-early 4th century AD

limestone, gesso, pigment
72.0 × 43.2 × 21.5 cm
Place/s of Execution
Behnessa, Egypt
Accession Number
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1973
Gallery location
Fashion & Textiles Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Female bust wearing a tunic and cloak (pallium). The bust is sculpted in high relief with the back and top of the head unworked. The centre of the body at the back is partially hollowed out and the back of the head, the neck, and the hollowed out area are roughly covered in a thin coating of plaster. The front and sides were originally coated in a thin layer of gesso over which painted details were applied. There are traces of red paint along the upper edges of the woman's tunic, her jewellery was originally yellow, and her hair shows traces of dark brown paint. The woman's face is expressionless. Her hair is carved in corkscrew ringlets across her brow and either side of her ears and she has a roll of hair or 'nodus' in the middle of her forehead. She wears thick 'leech' earrings with acorn-shaped pendants, a simple, expanding form bangle on her wrist and around her neck a bead necklace and a chain with a circular medallion. The figure 'L' is painted in red outline on her left arm (significance unknown). The bust is slightly chipped in places and the left hand is missing.