Ceramic bust ‘n’ heads


The original sculptural heads and busts were produced from clay for religious icons in the form of various Gods, Goddesses and Deities.  Carved busts in stone were also widespread, and reached an advanced level of artistic expression in the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations.The word bust is derived from the Italian word busto, and more then likely from the latin word bustum, both meaning sepulchral monument. This indicates they were created for a burial vault or a receptacle for sacred relics. They were used on tombs to remember the departed in the form of a ceramic portrait in the form of a bust. Through the ages historical figures were well represented with ceramic portrait busts and also utilised by the ruling class and nobility as a symbol of status. Tomb monuments of prosperous middle-class Romans, very often featured portrait busts and the entrance hall (atrium) of a Roman elite house displayed ancestral portrait busts.

Bronze, marble, and terra-cotta were popular mediums for busts and the importation of Chinese porcelain figurines into Europe stimulated local production of decorative porcelain busts in the 17th century.

A sculpture bust or head was more compact and  more practical for display then a full size statue and obviously more economical. Hence it was adopted more as homes got smaller. It remained a popular item of status and decoration up to the Twentieth Century. After the 30’s it  drifted more into obscurity, but still maintains its place as a decorative item.


Jardin des Tuileries

Paris 2004

( Photo by Bailey Zimmermen )

Barrias Louis Ernest sculpture bust

Barrias Louis Ernest sculpture bust


Garden Buddha bust

Garden Buddha bust

Black bust of Mercury

Black bust of Mercury

( Huntley & Co)





Oscar Niemeyer – Casa das Canoas – Rio de Janeiro – 1952




large ceramic bust ShinYeon Jeo

Large ceramic bust – ShinYeon Jeo

Charles Gounod by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Charles Gounod by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux – 1873




Matt Buckley

Matt Buckley

Janice James :

Janice James’s ceramic ‘tribal heads’ sculptures are a culmination of work combining form and surface pattern, exploring the art of body decoration still practised by global cultures.  Each piece is hand built from Scarva Earthstone clay, biscuit fired to 1000°C and raku fired.


Bume -Janice James head sculpture

Bume – Janice James, Wales

John Noott Gallerie



Aerona- Janice James Wales

Aerona– Janice James





Amahle -Janice James female head

Amahle -Janice James female head

John Noott Gallerie



Surma -Janice James --John Noott Gallerie

Surma -Janice James

John Noott Gallerie





Ayira Janice James -female-Head-469x623

Ayira  – ceramic head by Janice James

John Noott Gallerie


Kikuyu-I--Janice James

Kikuyu I -Raku head – Janice James

John Noott Gallerie

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Majolica Ceramic Heads, Taormina. Sicily, Italy

( Getty images )




Painted Wooden Buddah

Painted Wooden Buddah with turquoise inlays.





Ayelet Lalor - Chryseus garden sculpture

Ayelet Lalor – Chryseus  garden sculpture





Ayelet Lalor - serenity

Ayelet Lalor – Serenity






2 Heads by Gudrun Baudisch

Ceramic heads by Gudrun Baudisch (1907-1982), 1920s, at the Wiener Werkstätte

( hesitationwaltz.com )





Frederick Goldscheider


Ciseau -Frederick  Goldscheider – Young Lady With Headscarf and Fur Collar, Vienna 1903





Contemporary Sculpture

  Noi Volkov





Small bronze statuette on a yellow Siena marble bust representing Diana Huntress, by Alexandre Falguire, Thiebaut Frères Paris.

( Marc Menzoyan )





Dual Faces Sculpture

Dual Faces Sculpture





Elisabeth Dupin - Sjöstedt

Elisabeth Dupin – Sjöstedt



 Gene Pearson :


gene pearson sculptural head

Gene Pearson sculptural head

Natty Dread Thelma Harris Art Gallery



Gene Pearson

Gene Pearson




Gene Pearson - Sculpture

Gene Pearson – Raku crackle glaze Sculpture




Buddha - Gene Pearson

Buddha – Gene Pearson


Gene Pearson

Gene Pearson

gene pearson-495x466

Gene Pearson, Terra Firma Gallery


Greek, Attic, red figure terracotta


Greek, Attic, red-figure terracotta kantharos (drinking cup with high handles )

ca. 490-480 B.C.




Gudrun Baudisch heads

Gudrun Baudisch ceramic heads






Harlequin head – Tod Donobedian Antiques – 1stdibs





Hemba Head - Congo

Hemba Head –  Congo, Africa





Carved wooden Akshobhya head.



Isabelle Dubost - Dessertine

Isabelle Dubost-Dessertine





Kathy Waggoner

Kathy Waggoner




Liz Ciesluk Paverpol

Liz Ciesluk Paverpol




Malvina Hoffman

Malvina Hoffman




Nanouris Art Gallery

 Phillipos (Greek King of Macedonia) – Yiannis Nanouris

Nanouris Art Gallery

See more on the veniceclayartists post Contemporary sculptures from Greece





Oscar Jespers

Oscar Jespers – cubist head sculpture




Sarah Saunders

Sarah Saunders



Suzie Zamit

Suzie Zamit




Syrian Artist - Assem Al Bacha

Syrian Artist – Assem Al Bacha


Porcelain Bust of Victorian lady by Cordey

( Galerie Sommerlath, CA, USA )



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  1. Jackie wilks
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    am searching for a set of busts of Carlos & Consuela in the green ware or bisque .. to paint.

  2. cherelle B
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    amazing art. it’s wonderful what human creativity can do!!

  3. Posted January 2, 2022 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I think that is one of the much significant information and facts in my situation. With this particular pleased researching your content. But would you like to paying attention on number of usual issues, The web site tastes is definitely amazing, a posts is very fantastic : Chemical womens jilbab. Good undertaking, cheers

  4. Kim
    Posted February 1, 2023 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    These busts are so fabulous!!! Incredible creativity!!! So inspiring!!! Thanks for the experience!!

  5. Robbie Hood
    Posted February 1, 2023 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    your welcome!

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