Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Sections / Etrusco-Italic collection

Votive male head

The custom of dedicating terracotta votive gifts – heads, busts, statues, human and animal figurines, body parts – in sanctuaries began in the early 5th century and continued through to the 2nd in southern Etruria, Latium and Campania. The sheer number of these ex-voto suggests it was an extensive cult and possibly rooted in the country class, which was that of most men enrolled in the army fighting for supremacy of the peninsula.

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Heads, busts and statues represented the devout donor and symbolized their presence at the sacred site, ensuring contact with the divinity.
The ex-voto were die cast, finished with a spatula or modelled trim, then decorated after firing in a range of colours that has survived in very few cases.

Provenance: From Veio University Collection, formerly part of the Marsili Collection
Datation: Late 4th–3rd century BC
Material: terracotta
Inventory #: IT 1192

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Exhibition rooms | Room VIII - Etrusco-Italic collection