Rare Irish Celtic ‘Matrona,’ bronze female figurine.
Copper-alloy, 85 grams, 57.05 mm. 1st-8th century AD. A cast anthropomorphic figurine of a seated female figure with upraised arms. The right hand is carefully moulded in a palm-outward warding gesture; the left is vestigial, suggesting that originally a separate item was placed in front of the left side of the body - perhaps a child(?). The elliptical face is depicted with almond-shaped eyes, typical of Irish Iron Age art, and the hair is swept back from the face. The facial details are similar to those on the hilt of the Balyshannon sword, although the treatment of the hair is less detailed, and to the janiform stone head from Drumeague. Beneath the figure is an integral attachment peg.
Reference: Wallace, P.F. & O Floin, R. (eds.), Treasures of the National Museum of Ireland: Irish Antiquities, Dublin, 2002 items 4.9, 4.23. Very fine condition. Provenance: from an old English collection.