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Head

Late Roman, early 4th century; porphyry; 16.3 × 13 × 12.6 cm (6 7/16 × 5 1/8 × 4 15/16 in.). BZ.1963.5
Head

This head of a man almost certainly belonged to a portrait of a tetrarch. Established by the emperor Diocletian in 293, the tetrarchy emerged when the Roman Empire was divided into four parts, ruled by four individual emperors. Purple marble porphyry was popular for depictions of these rulers because the material was associated with imperial majesty and power. 

 

Provenance

Collection of Hayford Peirce (1883–1946); Pauline Brown Peirce (1911–1994), Los Angeles; gifted by Peirce to Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC, March 1963.

 

Selected Bibliography

G. Vikan, Catalogue of the Sculpture in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection from the Ptolemaic Period to the Renaissance (Washington, DC, 1995), 19–24, no. 11, plate 11A–D.

G. Bühl, ed., Dumbarton Oaks: The Collections (Washington, DC, 2008), 42, plate on 43.

D. Del Bufalo, Porphyry: Red Imperial Porphyry Power and Religion (Turin, 2012), 107, no. H27. 

Museum record

 

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