The J. Paul Getty Museum

Grave Naiskos of a Young Woman

Object Details


Grave Naiskos of a Young Woman




Greek (Attic)


Greece (Attica) (Place Created)


about 360 B.C.



Object Number:



72.5 × 36 × 12.5 cm, 50.1 kg (28 9/16 × 14 3/16 × 4 15/16 in., 110.5 lb.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Vasek Polak

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Object Description

Dolls and birds were the playthings of girls, and both are shown on this grave marker that commemorates a girl on the threshold of adulthood. She holds what appears to be a limbless figurine, her right hand gently covering its head. Her gaze forms a line from the doll to the goose looking back at her.
In ancient Greece, girls offered their dolls to a divinity when they reached puberty. This was a sign that they were past childhood and ready to assume the responsibilities of a wife. The slight swelling of the girl's breasts indicates that she was old enough for marriage.

- 1982

Vasek Polak, 1914 - 1997 (Hermosa Beach, California), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.

Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past (August 23, 2003 to December 5, 2004)
  • Hood Museum of Art (Hanover), August 23 to December 14, 2003
  • Onassis Cultural Center (New York), January 20 to April 15, 2004
  • Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati), May 21 to August 1, 2004
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 14 to December 5, 2004

Clairmont, Christoph W. Classical Attic Tombstones. (Kilchberg, Switzerland: Akanthus, 1993), vol. 1, pp. 308-9, no. 1.311.

Bergemann, Johannes. Demos and Thanatos. Untersuchungen zum Wertsystem der Polis im Spiegel der attischen Grabreliefs des 4. Jahrhunderts v.Chr. und zur Funktion der gleichzeitigen Grabbauten. Munich: 1997, p. 171, no. 509; cat. 1.311; pl. 63, 2.

Reilly, Joan. "Naked and Limbless: Learning about the feminine body in ancient Athens." In Naked Truths: Women, sexuality, and gender in classical art and archaeology. Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow and Claire L. Lyons, eds. (London: Routledge), p. 166, n. 4.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Greek Funerary Sculpture: Catalogue of the Collections at the Getty Villa (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 27-28, cat. no. 8.

Neils, Jenifer and John H. Oakley, eds. Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past, exh. cat. (Hanover, NH: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College), p. 265, no. 68.

Papaikonomou, Irini-Despina. "Enfance et identité sexuée dans les cités grecques." In Nasciturus: Infans, puerulus. Vobis mater terra. La muerte en la infancia, Volume collectif monographique du SIAP, Servei d'investigacions arqueologiques i prehistorique (Castellon: 2008), p. 700.

Margariti, Katia. "Lament and Death instead of Marriage: The Iconography of Deceased Maidens on Attic Grave Reliefs of the Classical Period." Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Vol. 87, No. 1 (January-March 2018), pp. 91-176, 115, fig.13; 139, no. 54.

Todisco, Luigi. Figure Mascherate e Maschere Comiche nella Ceramica Italiota e Siceliota. Rome: L"Erma" di Bretschneider, 2020, 102.