Limestone Stele with the Portrait of a Youth from the Province Africa

Culture: Roman/province Africa
Period: 3rd century A.D.
Material: Limestone
Dimensions: 56 cm x 33 cm
Price: 8 000 Euro
Ref: 3395
Provenance: French private collection Saint-Raphaël, accompanied by a French antiquities passport.
Condition: A fragment of beautiful quality.
Description: Fragment of a limestone stele from the Roman province Africa (today Tunesia) depicting a standing youth with a chubby face and thick, wavy hair. He wears a tunic and holds a scroll in his left hand turned outwards. He holds with his right hanging hand the end of the toga which is thrown over his left shoulder. The bulla, worn with a band around his neck, indicates that he has not reach adulthood yet. The Romans adopted from the Etruscans the tradition to, right after birth, put around children a bulla, which enclosed an amulet in the cavity, to protect against spell, especially the evil eye. The bulla and the toga emphasise that the youth, although originating from the province Africa, was considered as a Roman citizen. His “Romanitas” is also underlined by the scroll, which not only stands for scholarship, but should also be a reference to the depiction of senators, scholar and emperors of the empire. Above the youth the bodies of two genii can be seen, holding a garland with a central rosette above the youth’s head. For the type of the youth with bulla, toga and scroll see the stele in the Yale University Art Gallery with inventory number 1984.121. Mounted.