This funerary bust of a Palmyrene lady dates from c. 175-200 CE and is made of limestone. It is originally from Palmyra, Syria. (Inscribed in Aramaic: ‘Aqmat, daughter of Hagagu, descendant of Zebida, descendant of Ma'an. Alas!") The inhabitants of the wealthy city of Palmyra buried their dead in family or communal tombs containing rows of individual compartments. Each was sealed with a plaque bearing an elaborate and highly realistic portrait of the deceased. Known as "nefesh" ("soul" or "personality"), these portraits enabled the owner to exist in the afterlife.
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