Ser. 3. No. 2. (2014)
Selected papers of the XI. Hungarian Conference on Classical Studies

Hellenistic grotesque terracotta figurines. Problems of iconographical interpretation

Published January 16, 2015
How to Cite
Süvegh, E. (2015). Hellenistic grotesque terracotta figurines. Problems of iconographical interpretation. Dissertationes Archaeologicae, 3(2), 143-156.


In the study of grotesque terracotta statuettes from the Hellenistic Age many questions are yet to be answered, including the ‘identity’ of these figurines. This article aims at giving reference points for the iconographical interpretation of the grotesques. In the first part of the article I collected some circumstances hindering the decipherment of the grotesque terracottas. Then, as the majority of these objects are head fragments broken from the bodies of statuettes, I tried to present details and attributes that may hint at the original meaning of the figurines, even without any knowledge of the missing parts of their bodies. These details include hairstyle and headwear, facial features typical of certain ethnic groups, signs of medical condition, characteristic injuries and features known from the sphere of the theatre.