Grave Relief Of A Woman
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1975.41.116
Title
Grave Relief of a Woman
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
100-200 CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Palmyra (Syria)
Period
Roman Imperial period, Middle
Culture
Roman
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Limestone
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
59 cm h x 44 cm w x 18 cm d (23 1/4 x 17 5/16 x 7 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Inscription in Aramaic: "Ra' Ta, daughter of Hairan, (son of) Taibal, Alas!"
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of The Hagop Kevorkian Foundation in memory of Hagop Kevorkian
Accession Year
1975
Object Number
1975.41.116
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990
The missing part of the back of the left hand and the adjacent sleeve are filled in with plaster along the line of the major crack.

The inscription reads: "Ra' Ta, daughter of Hairan, (son of) Taibal, Alas!" This half-figure of a veiled woman wears an enriched diadem, a brooch, and three rings. She also has a string of jewelry, gold discs and pearls or stones, running from either side of her forehead, under the diadem and back down on top of the hair above the ears. Her chiton and himation are both rather rubbery in treatment, especially the ample folds of the latter. She has a thinnish face with a small mouth giving her an almost petulant, spoiled look.

Save for the specific, individual characteristics just mentioned, this is as "standard," as conventional a Palmyrene funerary relief bust of a woman as one can encounter. Parallels abound. Tibnan with her child on her left hand, in the Musee du Louvre, Paris, has the same qualities of drapery, in the period AD 150-200 (Colledge, 1976, pp. 70-71, pl. 86). Her hair cascades out form under the veil like that of "'Ala, Iarhai's daughter," in the British Museum, a likeness bearing the date AD 113-114 (Colledge, 1976, pp. 62,, 70, pl. 64).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), p. 117, no. 131, ill.

Cornelius C. Vermeule, III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 164, no. 150

Fred Albertson, The "Date" on Two Dated Palmyran Funerary Reliefs (2012), Vol. 5, pp. 250-270, pp. 263-264, fig. 10

Exhibition History

Roman Gallery Installation (long-term), Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/16/1999 - 01/20/2008

Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/22/2007 - 01/20/2008

Related Works
Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted