Terracotta votive scalp, Roman, 200 BCE-200 CE

200 BCE-200 CE in Roman Empire

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Left hand side - A114891, Votive hair, terracotta, probably Roman, 200BC-200AD. Right hand side - A634932, Votive scalp
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Votive hair, terracotta, probably Roman, 200BC-200AD

Made from terracotta, this votive offering is in the shape of a scalp with hair. Anatomical votives such as this were left at healing sanctuaries and other religious sites as offerings to gods such as Asklepios, the Greco-Roman god of medicine. It was intended either to indicate the part of the body that needed help or as thanks for a cure. This person may have had chronic headaches or hair loss.

Made from bronze or terracotta, as in this case, a large range of different votive body parts were made and offered up in their thousands. Although it originated in earlier cultures, this practice became very popular in Roman Italy – particularly between the 400s and 100s BCE. The votive is shown here with another similar painted example (A634932).


Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
votive offering
Glendining & Co.

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