I found this beautiful wood-carved sculpture:


It does look quite old and I wonder around what it was created. Also I'm interested which things to look out for, in order to determine the age and possibly spot newer imitations.

More images



  • Where was it found? Are there any markings on the base? – KillingTime Oct 25 '16 at 20:08
  • @KillingTime It was found in an thrift shop in St. Gallen. There are no markings at the base, just bare wood. – Besi Oct 25 '16 at 20:10
  • Ask her if she'd like to go out for coffee. – Clint Eastwood Jan 11 '18 at 14:48

To date this sculpture, you could look at pictures and other sculptures and compare the style of clothing. Or take a book about medieval clothing and try to determine the period of the clothing this way. Probably a combination of these two approaches would be a good idea.

Edit: The determination of the clothing gives you a starting point for your research, a date after which the sculpture is done.

The headpiece looks to me like a Hennin which would put it roughly in the 15th century. Also the dress seems to fit in this period, compared for example with this painting from Hans Memling, Portrait of a young woman / bride from the second half of the 15th century.

But I am no expert in this area and would be very interested if somebody knew more details. Memling, Portrait of a young woman

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    You can't base the age of artworks on the style of dress, you can only assume that it was created sometime after that point in time. – user22859 Jan 11 '18 at 11:04
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    Well, yes and no. It gives a terminus post quem, a point AFTER which it is created, as you said. And that creates a starting point for the research, e.g. you could start looking for comparable sculptures from this date onwards. Of course, it could be a historical work, done just some years ago. But I deem that rather unlikely. Comparison of the style, how the carving and painting is done should finally help in dating. – Lisa Jan 11 '18 at 11:16
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    Begging your pardon here, but 1500-2017 is a pretty significant date range in which to search for comparable sculptures. This one could easily be from 50 years ago. – user22859 Jan 11 '18 at 11:20
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    I did not say it would be "totally easy and fast"? 500 years look rather short to me, usually I am more concerned with artwork that could be done theoretically anywhere in the range of -500 until today. What would you suggest instead as a starting point? – Lisa Jan 11 '18 at 11:24
  • the posture, the position of the hands and the form of the dress make it look more recent – user8690 Jan 14 '18 at 21:44

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