Provenance:Private Collection, acquired in Europe in the first half of the 20th century and brought to South America in 1950 - 1951; thence by descent;
Private Collection, Guadeloupe;
Christie's, New York, 9 December 2010, lot 189;
Private Collection, U.S.A.
This marble head with its incredibly intricate hair arrangement is unusual, as it depicts a woman with her eyes shut, sleeping. Mythological subjects depicted asleep in Classical sculpture include Ariadne, the Hermaphrodite, Eros and Endymion. It is likely that this woman originally belonged to a large sculpture of just such a mythological subject. The style of the carving indicates a second century AD date. The closest example of a similar period is the Hadrianic sleeping Maenad or Hermaphrodite, at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens (inv. no.261): LIMC Nr. 56i s.v. Hermaphroditos.