Head of a Woman Holding a Sistrum

150 BCE–50 CE

Overall: 17.7 x 20 x 11.2 cm (6 15/16 x 7 7/8 x 4 7/16 in.)
Location: 102C Greek
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Did You Know?

A sistrum (rattle) can have either three or four branches through the body of the instrument.


This head of a woman was likely originally part of a stele or grave marker. The woman sits in partial profile holding a sistrum close to her head, possibly making music. A sistrum is a type of rattle that originated in ancient Egypt and spread to the Greek world. (View a sistrum in the collection here: 1920.1990.) The sistrum likely signaled to ancient viewers that the woman on the grave marker was a worshiper of the Egyptian goddess Isis, whose cult spread throughout the Mediterranean after Alexander the Great took over Egypt.
Head of a Woman Holding a Sistrum

Head of a Woman Holding a Sistrum

150 BCE–50 CE

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