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Head of a Woman
American: early 20th Century
15.5 x 8 inches, head
17 inches high, including base
A carved wooden folk art plaque of a woman’s head with traces of its original painted finish. The deep relief depicts a stylized female face with lips parted in a slight smile and long wavy hair. The hair is arranged in tripartite coiled bun on top of her head and hangs on either side of her face, joining at a point several inches beneath her chin, where it is now mounted on a cast iron stand. The face is painted off white tinged with pink, and there are traces of brown on the hair. Indeed as presently aged in old paint, the face now appears almost as a mask peering out from her flowing hair. The plaque has a flat back and was likely a wall decoration for a circus, carnival, theater, or amusement park (for example, as part of a carousel). It is most likely American.