Head from a Figure with a Beaded Headdress

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453

Although three-dimensional figurative sculptures were made from the beginnings of Islamic art, this head, perhaps part of a full-sized figure, represents a rare example of such sculpture from the Seljuq period. Carved in stone, this head features an enigmatic smile that sets it apart from the average figural production of this period, much of which was made of stucco and with a more standardized and solemn expression. The maker of this object was clearly highly skilled, as evidenced by the naturalistic depiction of its Central Asian face, the stylized hair locks that form an ornament, and the elaborately jeweled headdress.

Head from a Figure with a Beaded Headdress, Fossiliferous limestone; carved, drilled

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