Terracotta figure of a woman

Period: Classical

Date: mid-5th century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: H. 17 3/4 in. (45 cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1906

Accession Number: 06.1151


This fragmentary terracotta figure is most likely the master model from which a mold was made to cast a bronze statuette using the indirect method of hollow lost-wax casting. Such models were usually made of plaster or clay. Since the original model is not lost in the indirect casting process, it is possible to recast sections, if necessary, and to make series of the same statue. With such advantages, the majority of all large-scale ancient Greek and Roman bronze statues were made using the indirect method. Arms and heads were usually made separately and then fastened together at joins that were easily concealed with folds of drapery and by other means.
This terracotta model depicts a female figure wearing a peplos, a popular garment for women in ancient Greece from the fifth century B.C. onward. It is usually made of a single piece of wool folded over at the top and fastened at the shoulders, leaving open the left side of the garment. The peplos, as opposed to the patterned fabric of the Archaic chiton, made more readily apparent the new subtleties of pose in Classical sculpture. The drapery on this standing female figure falls smoothly around the articulated, weight-bearing left leg.