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Nikolai

Set ROM02

Ancient Women

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2005
Contents 12 figures and 1 fountain
Poses 12 poses
Material Resin
Colours Black
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

Clothing was considered to be very important in Roman society, and there were many conventions and even laws regulating what could and could not be worn. The majority of these applied only to men however, which left women with more freedom to choose their attire. Those choices were based on much the same principles as today – the desire to display (either wealth or social status or both), to be comfortable or simply to be happy with their appearance.

Unlike today Roman clothing was not particularly varied. The cut was fairly simple and the range of garments quite limited, while almost all of it was made of wool. Women who could used jewellery and accessories to add variety, or very occasionally superior patterned cloths or even rare fabrics like linen or silk. For most however the basic garment in early Roman times was the toga, as it was for the men, but well before the imperial period this gave way to types of simple full-length tunic such as the peplos or chiton, which might have sleeves of various lengths or might be sleeveless. By convention married women were entitled to wear a stolla over this (although many did not), and over that a palla, which partly resembled a toga and could be pulled over the head for warmth. The figures in this set seem to have all these basic elements of female dress, and while styles changed over time all these appear authentic.

While jewellery is too small to be an issue in this scale hairstyles are more apparent and were another way of indicating how wealthy or fashionable you were. In fact hair fashion varied over time but the Romans did everything modern women do, including dyeing their hair and adding hairpieces. Sometimes it was worn up and sometimes long, perhaps with curls and ringlets. Naturally such subtleties are hard to reproduce on such small figures, so understandably all of the women with visible hair have it tied neatly in a bun.

All of the poses are largely stationary, as if gathered in the street to talk, so there is no real variety there. However variety is introduced by the various baskets, plates and jars that many carry. It would have been nice to have seen some poses walking, although for an average street scene that is about all that would be required.

Perhaps as a centrepiece round which the women can meet and talk, this set also includes a small fountain. A little under 20mm square at the base, and with sides only 10mm tall, this looks to us like quite a typical public fountain from which water might be fetched every day. The lion head from which the pipe protrudes looks great and it even shows the feeder pipe at the back. A really nice piece.

Nikolai figures are always excellent, and these are no different. The production process allows some undercutting of these resin figures, and there is some minor assembly of parts on a couple of figures, but the result is beautifully detailed and sculpted figures that don’t disappoint. For such figures it is the folds in the clothing that is most important, and these look completely natural as well as being nice and deep and sharp, making painting so easy. The fact that these are women has not been overlooked, as some of them are extremely slender and elegant while one or two have rather let their figure go in recent years! There is virtually no flash but as usual the figures do not come with a base – those shown above were supplied and added by us to facilitate painting and display.

Some women with a bit more action in them might have been nice, but otherwise this is simply another great set of Roman civilians from Nikolai.

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