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  • Lori-Ann Touchette

Series of Terracotta Female Votive Statues

Roman museums often have several display cases filled with small-scale terracotta votive sculptures, dedications in the many temples and sanctuaries of the city. The votives are figurative, and can represent the god(s) of the site or the patron deity of the dedicant. Sometimes, a specific body part (head, hands, genitals and internal organs, eyes, etc.) is dedicated either as a prayer for a cure or as a thank offering for a prayer that was granted.

A series of terracotta female votive statues in the Terme di Diocleziano are striking for their scale. Two over-life size busts and three seated figures, c. two-thirds life size, come from a sanctuary in Ariccia dedicated to the Greek goddess Demeter and her daughter Kore (or Persephone). The busts have been identified as Demeter and Kore respectively whereasseries of terracotta female attributes of the seated figures of the type “enthroned goddess” such as the piglet and wheat sheaf also confirm their identify with the fertility goddesses. Dated to the 4th-3rd centuries BC, due to their high quality they have been attributed to artists from Magna Graecia, whereas some scholars have suggested that the busts are copies after bronzes by the Greek artists Damophilos e Gorgasos, in the Temple of Ceres, Libero and Libera on the Aventine in Rome. The figures were mold-made with an emphasis on the front, whereas the backs are more roughly worked with the marks of the sculptor clearly visible. #romacittàdellaceramica #romeceramiccity #terracotta #ceramics #votivestatuary #ariccia @ Terme di Diocleziano

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