Terra-Cotta Head

This terra-cotta head of a helmeted allegorical figure (the flowing hair suggests femininity, but the armor suggests “don’t mess with me”) is really a first-rate piece of work, which makes it all the more surprising to find it built into the gable of a rowhouse on the South Side. It is the sort of ornament you add to tell your neighbors, “I am slightly more prosperous than you, because I can afford to have this built into my gable.”

—Old Pa Pitt suspects that this is meant to be a head of Minerva, a Roman goddess you don’t mess with.

The other decorative details on this house are also fine, though more in a vernacular Victorian Romanesque style. This ornament is in the arch above the middle second-floor window.

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