The antefix is moulded in relief with the bust of a woman with almond-shaped eyes and smiling lips. The hair at the forehead is arranged in rigid curls framing the face, tresses of long beaded hair falling down to the side to her left shoulder. She is wearing a stephane (στεφάνη) diadem in her hair. To her left is a lotus blossom. Some polychrome remains.
With Arte Classica, Edith Bader Koller, Lugano, before 2000
With Herbert A. Cahn (1915 - 2002), Basel
Dr. Ulrich Wisler Collection, Biel-Benken, Switzerland
During the Archaic period, southern Etruria produced a large number of architectural terracottas (friezes, covering plaques, acroteria, and antefixes) designed to decorate sacred buildings. Etruscan temples were largely built from perishable materials: wood, bricks, or blocks of tuff for the superstructure; stone for the base. Antefixes had three functions: placed on the eaves of the roof, they concealed the ends of the convex tiles and protected them from bad weather; they were also part of the architectural decoration; finally, they had an apotropaic role, banishing bad luck and bad influences from temples. Made in moulds and painted, they usually took the form of a male or female face.
For further discussion see N.A. Winter, Symbols of Wealth and Power: Architectural Terracotta Decoration in Etruria and Central Italy, 640-510 B.C, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Supplementary Volume 9, 2009, University of Michigan Press. For a similar example in Berlin (inv. no. TC 7899) see V. Kästner, ‘Archaische Frauenkopfantefixe Aus Capua’, Forschungen Und Berichte, vol. 24, 1984, pp. 66 - T14.