Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Figure of Isis-Aphrodite

Roman Period
2nd century A.D.
From Egypt
Terracotta painted brown, black, red, and pink on white engobe
h. 49.5 cm (19 1/2 in); w. 12.5 cm (4 15/16 in)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1991
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 138
Isis-Aphrodite is a form of the great goddess Isis that emphasizes the fertility aspects associated with Aphrodite. She was concerned with marriage and childbirth and, following very ancient pharaonic prototypes, also with rebirth. Elaborate accessories, including an exaggerated calathos (the crown of Egyptian Greco-Roman divinities) emblazoned with a tiny disk and horns of Isis, heighten the effect of her nudity.

Figures depicting this goddess are found in both domestic and funerary contexts. Popular already in the 3rd to 2nd centuries B.C., they continued to be made in Roman times. Dating technology places this piece in the Roman period, probably about AD 150, and the long narrow face and rather dry expression do not contradict such a date.
Purchased from Galerie Nefer, Zurich, 1991. Published in BMMA Fall 1991 and subsequently, continuously exhibited.

Hill, Marsha 2000. "Roman Egypt." In The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West, edited by Elizabeth J. Milleker. New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 93, fig. 73, p. 208.

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