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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Material| ▸ |Terracotta Antiquities||View Options:  |  |  | 

Terracotta Antiquities

Terracotta is a type of hard-baked clay, produced by means of a single firing. Terracotta is usually un-glazed so-called "buff" clay. Archaeologists, art historians, and Forum's staff refer to clay objects such as sculptures or tiles, made without a potter's wheel as terracotta. We refer to vessels, lamps and objects made on the potter's wheel as pottery (even if it is buff clay). Terracottas were initially hand molded. Later came the development of the clay mold, with which the artisan could push the soft clay into the mold, and produce a fine terracotta on the spot. This was certainly one of the first examples of mass production. This mold could provide a limited number of copies before it lost definition. The results were beautiful. The Greek terracotta craftsman was called coroplast, which is Greek for "doll maker." These terracottas were mass produced, and almost anyone in the society could afford them. Terracotta figures were used either for religious purposes, as tools for the veneration of the gods and goddesses, or for secular purposes, as toys for the living and gifts from friends for the departed.

Unmounted pieces can be mounted by Forum for prices starting at $25 per piece. Request mounting in the checkout comments and we will respond by email with the price and a description of the mount, stand or base.


Greco-Roman Anatatolia (Smyrna, Ionia?), Terracotta Woman Holding Infant, 2nd century B.C. - 1st century A.D.

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Kourotrophos (Greek: "child nurturer") was an Athenian deity, the protector of children and young people, with a cult and sanctuary, the so-called Kourotropheion. Gods and goddesses, including Athena, Apollo, Hermes, Hecate, Aphrodite, and Artemis, are given the epithet Kourotrophos when depicted holding an infant. Figurines of females holding infants are also called Kourotrophos. The purpose of kourotrophic figurines is debated. Perhaps they are representations of the Athenian goddess. Perhaps they were fertility or childbirth charms. They are found in graves, so perhaps they were companions for the dead.

We were unable to find another example of this type. Attribution to Smyrna, Ionia is based on the color and texture of the clay, and on the style and workmanship.
AH21487. Terracotta kourotrophos statuette of a woman holding a swaddled infant, 25cm (9 7/8") tall, mold-made, hollow and without back, Choice, complete and intact, old dealer labels on the reverse, stands on its own base, Late Hellenistic to Roman Era; $600.00 (€528.00)
 


Greek, Terracotta Eros Figure, 4th Century B.C.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AT31187. Average, beige terracotta; full figure of nude Eros, winged, legs spread, holding fruit; 6.5 cm (2 1/2") high; unmounted; $280.00 (€246.40)
 


Roman Egyptian, Terracotta Bust of Harpocrates with Finger to Mouth, 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

Shhhhh! quiet!...In Greek mythology, Harpocrates is the god of silence. Harpocrates was very popular in Egypt during the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, as evidenced by his numerous terracotta household idols, such as this one.
AS20846. cf. BMC Terracottas IV 3043 ff., Average, even wear, Terracotta head of Harpocrates; cf. Kaufmann 28; 5.6 cm (2 1/4") high, beige terracotta, bust of Harpocrates with right hand and finger to mouth, wearing horn and sun-disk headdress; fragment broken from a larger idol, unmounted; $90.00 (€79.20)
 







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REFERENCES|

Badre, L. Les Figurines Anthropomorphes en Terre Cuite a L'age du Bronze en Syria. (Paris, 1980).
Bailey, D. Catalogue of the Greek Terracottas in the British Museum, Vol. IV: Ptolemaic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt. (London, 2008).
Besques, S. Catalogue Raisonné des Figurines et Reliefs en Terre-Cuite Grecs Étrusques et Romains. (Paris, 1954-1992).
Besque, S. Figurines et reliefs grecs en terre cuite. (Paris, 1994).
Besques, S. Tanagra Collection des Maitres. (Paris, 1950).
Burn, L. & R. Higgins. Catalogue of the Greek Terracottas in the British Museum Vol. III. (London, 2001).
Chesterman, J. Classical Terracotta Figures. (London, 1974).
Higgins, R. Catalogue of the Greek Terracottas in the British Museum, Vol. I: 730 - 330 B.C. (London, 1954).
Muscarell, O., ed. Ladders to Heaven: Art Treasures from Lands of the Bible. (Toronto, 1981).
Stevenson, W. The Grotesque Pathological Representations in Greek and Roman Art. (Ann Arbor, 1975).
Torok, L. Hellenistic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt. (Rome, 1995).
Uhlenbrock, J. The Terracotta protomai from Gela: A Discussion of local Style in archaic Sicily. (Rome, 1989).

Catalog current as of Saturday, December 7, 2019.
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Terracotta