Two terracotta roundels with theatrical masks

Period: Hellenistic

Date: 1st century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: Overall: 3 x 5 3/4in. (7.6 x 14.6cm)
diameter 5 11/16in. (14.5cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: Purchase, David L. Klein Jr. Memorial Foundation Inc. Gift, 1999

Accession Number: 1999.316a, b


Each of these terracotta roundels has raised moldings along the rim with a separately molded mask. The roundel at right depicts a slave; the one at left shows a hetaira (concubine). Both masks have perforated eyes and open mouths, as was characteristic of those worn by actors in Greek and Roman theater. By the fifth century B.C., theatrical masks developed as standard types, recognizable at once to the audience when the characters came on stage.