Marble portrait of Marciana, sister of the emperor Trajan
ca. A.D. 130–138
H. 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1920
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162
During the last quarter of the first century A.D. and the early decades of the second century A.D., ever more complex hair arrangements were developed for the ladies of the imperial court. Hairpieces with added hair and concealed frameworks formed high diadem-like structures surrounding the face. One of the most elaborate constructions appears on the official portraits of Marciana, the elder sister of Trajan. The high polish and engraved eyes on this head suggest that it was carved during the Hadrianic period. The powerful women of Trajan’s family were much honored by his successor, Hadrian, who is said to have owed his throne to their influence. Marciana was the grandmother of Hadrian’s wife, Sabina.
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