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A CARVED AGATE CAMEO BUST OF A WOMAN
Her hair elaborately dressed, a veil tied into a knot at the back of her head, stola draped over her breast and holding a cup close to her, facing to the right; in a silver-gilt rope twist oval mount applied to a red jasper ground within an associated rectangular gilt-bronze architectural frame with flanking caryatids emerging from consoles supporting a scrolled pediment with scallop shell surmounted by a winged putto mask
The present portrait may represent Sophonisba, the patriotic and beautiful African queen who swallowed poison rather than face the humiliation of captivity by the Roman conquerors of her kingdom. For, thus exemplifying royal dignity and courage, as did Cleopatra during the Renaissance, these women were regarded as heroines. For a bust of Athena, similar in style and technique to this cameo see I. Weber, Geschnittene Steine aus altbayerischem Besitz (Munich and Berlin, 2001), no. 144.