IVORY DOLLS

These dolls are extremely rare examples of preserved ivory dolls from the Roman period. Their material and exquisite workmanship made them valuable even at the time they were made. They were placed in the tomb of a girl from a wealthy Emona family. These jointed figurines (movable shoulder, elbow, hip and knee joints) were most likely crafted in Rome itself and painted with vivid colours. The main indication as to the time they were made and used is their hairstyle, the hair combed back behind the ears and reaching the shoulders in the back.  
 
Much the same as today, the girls from the Roman period played with similar less valuable dolls made from terracotta, bones, wood, and wax. When they got married, girls gave their toys to deities thus they can only rarely be found in graves.
 
Details
 
Object: Ivory dolls 
Description: Ivory dolls with movable joints that were placed in a girl's grave. 
Date/Period: 2nd half of 3rd century AD 
Material: Ivory 
Dimensions: Height: 24 and 25 cm
Location of find: Next to Karlovška cesta, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Inv. No.: R 6930 a, b
Location: Permanent exhibition Roman Stories from the Crossroads at the National Museum – Prešernova 
 
Further reading
  • Janka Istenič: Rimske zgodbe s stičišča svetov. Katalog razstave, Ljubljana 2014, str. 76.