Greek Terracotta Antefix: Gorgon


Greek Terracotta Antefix: Gorgon

A large ancient Greek terracotta antefix with the the face of a Gorgon, probably Medusa, surrounded by rearing snakes.

Tarentum, Southern Italy.
Ca. 330-320 BC.
Height: 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm).

Antefixes were ornamental pottery caps that covered the open ends left by semi-cylindrical tiles at the edge of a temple roofs. They were often adorned with apotropaic images like Gorgons and Satyrs.

Gorgons were frightful witch-like female deities in Greek mythology. Medusa, whose gaze could turn a man to stone, is the most well known. Gorgons were protective deities whose very visage inspired fear. These apotropaic images on vases were meant to scare off all manner of threats.

cf.: M. Mazzai, La Daunia Antica, (Milan, 1984), p. 157, no. 193.

Formerly in the S. G. collection, New York; previously in the C. collection, Switzerland, 1960's.

Inv#: 6072


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