The emperor was the chief state priest, and many statues show him in the act of prayer or sacrifice, with a fold of his toga pulled up to cover his head as a mark of piety. However, this highly idealized head may represent the Genius, or protective spirit, of the living emperor. Traditionally the protective spirit of every Roman household was worshiped at the family shrine. It was represented by a statuette with veiled head holding implements of sacrifice. Similar veneration of the Genius Augusti, introduced by the paternalistic Augustus, was widespread at public shrines and altars.
Picón, Carlos A. and Joan R. Mertens. 1992. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1991–1992: Ancient World." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 50(2): p. 13.
Musée & Galerie des Beaux-Arts. 1992. "La Chronique des Arts. Principales Acquisitions des Musée en 1992." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 119: no. 192
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1992. "One Hundred Twenty-second Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1991 through June 30, 1992." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 122: p. 37.
Milleker, Elizabeth J. 2000. The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West no. 12, pp. 36-7, 205, New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 407, pp. 353, 486, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.