Statue of a Mourning Woman

300-250 BC

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Object Details

Catalogue Number 42
Inventory Number 79.AD.194
Typology Statue
Location Canosa
Dimensions H: 96.5 cm; W: 31 cm


Light brown, slightly reddish in color (Munsell 2.5 yr 8/4 7/6). No slip or ground layer is preserved on this figure. Polychromy: red pigment on the hair.


Assembled from numerous fragments. The arms and the left foot are missing, and with the exception of areas on the hair, the abraded terracotta surface has been completely stripped of all polychromy and burial accretions. Vertical striations are visible over most of the figure where the artisan scraped a tool over the surface to smooth it. The interior shows signs of being pressed and worked with hands. There are striations running horizontally across the inside, and fingerprints are present in several areas. There are two firing cracks, both in the back of the figure.i

  1. The head is thought to be associated with the m4-mold type of Jeammet’s classification: Jeammet 2003a, p. 290. See in particular the orant published in Levi 1926, no. 235, inv. 22246; and S. De Caro, La Magna Grecia nelle collezioni del Museo archeologico di Napoli (Naples, 1996), p. 151, no. 11.


– 1979, Dr. Paul Flanagan (Costa Mesa, CA), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1979.


M. L. Ferruzza, “Quattro statue in terracotta da Canosa,” Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 1 (1993), p. 77, figs. 6a–b; F. van der Wielen-van Ommeren, “Orantes, canosines,” Genève et l’Italie: Mélanges de la Société genevoise d’études italiennes 3 (Geneva, 1999), pp. 43–65, no. 24; Jeammet 2003a, pp. 271 and 290, no. 39.


This statue, like those in the previous entries (cats. 38, 39, 40, and 41), has been assigned by Jeammet to the group of mourners or orantes wearing a long himation with a conical structure, tending to broaden at the shoulders.1 The face is modeled with greater freedom of expression; the hair, again rendered through stylized incisions, is arrayed on the forehead in softer waves and is gathered at the back. The head is tilted to the left, the furrowing of the brow is expressed by four wrinkles carved in the center and on the sides of the eyebrows, which are profoundly arched and accentuate the cavity of the eyes. There are three circular holes (approximately 1.5 cm in diameter) on the lower part of the chiton in the front and back of the figure, and vertical striations are visible on the surface, left by the coroplast’s tools.

In its general composition, it shows close similarities to an orant in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, already linked to the Barbarossa hypogeum.2

Appendix: The piece has been subjected to a thermoluminescence examination, which confirmed its authenticity.


  1. Jeammet 2003a, pp. 271. 

  2. For the Barbarossa hypogeum, see note 16 of cat. 41