Ivory dollsExtremely rare examples of preserved ivory dolls from the Roman period
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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. Their date is revealed primarily by the hairstyle; the hair is combed back and behind the ears, reaching down to the shoulders at the nape, as was fashionable in the 3rd century.  
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.

Further reading

  • Janka Istenič: Roman Stories from the Crossroads. Exhibition catalogue. Ljubljana 2015, p. 76.
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