A previous post featured the mysterious case of the phantom ponytail — a Roman sarcophagus whose occupant, portrayed on the front, appeared to be sprouting phantasmic locks of hair from above his ear.
I return to this marvelous piece because a recent trip to Rome has provided me with better photographs (above). These show the marks of recutting, and the ghostly traces of the prior owner's ponytail, in better light.
Several readers asked me about the hairstyle of Isis's son Harpocrates, the mythic child whose coiffure was adopted by male devotees of Isis (including this coffin's original owner). Below is a photograph of a bronze statue of the wee god, now in San Francisco's Legion of Honor. Dated to the early 3rd century, it's roughly contemporaneous with our sarcophagus. You can't miss the prominent sidelock.
Comments warmly invited.
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