Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble portrait of Marciana, sister of the emperor Trajan

ca. A.D. 130–138
H. 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1920
Accession Number:
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.
Until 1920, with Yanakopolos, Paris]; acquired in 1920, purchased from Yanakopoulos.

M.E.P. 1924. "Miscellaneous Greek and Roman Sculptures." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 19(8): p. 194, fig. 2.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1941. Roman Portraits, Vol. 2. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1948. Roman Portraits, 2nd edn. no. 66, pp. iv–v, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thimme, Jürgen. 1976. Kunst und Kultur der Kykladeninseln im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr.: Ausstellung unter d. Patronat des International Council of Museums ICOM im Karlsruher Schloss vom 25. Juni-10. Oktober 1976. no. 99, p. 130, Karlsruhe: Müller.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 99, p. 130, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jucker, Ines. 1995. Skulpturen der Antiken-Sammlung Ennetwies. pp. 29 n. 1, 30 n. 6, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Fittschen, Klaus. 1996. "Courtly Portraits of Women in the Era of the Adoptive Emperors (98-180 A.D.) and their Reception in Roman Society." I Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome, Prof. Diana Kleiner and Susan B. Matheson, eds. p. 42, fig. 3, New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery.

Bartman, Elizabeth. 2001. "Hair and the Artifice of Roman Female Adornment." American Journal of Archaeology, 105(1): p. 11, pl. 1.

Zanker, Paul. 2016. Roman Portraits: Sculptures in Stone and Bronze in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 78, pp. 191, 210–12, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Related Objects

Marble portrait of the emperor Caracalla

Date: A.D. 212–217 Medium: Marble Accession: 40.11.1a On view in:Gallery 169

Marble head of an athlete

Date: ca. A.D. 138–192 Medium: Marble Accession: 11.210.2 On view in:Gallery 153

Marble portrait of the emperor Augustus

Date: ca. A.D. 14–37 Medium: Marble Accession: 07.286.115 On view in:Gallery 166

Marble head of a Greek general

Date: 1st–2nd century A.D. Medium: Marble, Pentelic ? Accession: 24.97.32 On view in:Gallery 160

Marble head of a Hellenistic ruler

Date: 1st–2nd century A.D. Medium: Marble Accession: 03.12.8b On view in:Gallery 160