Terracotta rooftile with the head of a maenad.
Etruscan/Cerveteri, late 4th century B.C.
In Etruscan as well as Greek architecture, the rooftiles running along the eaves of temples ended in upright members called antefixes. These were decorated with terracotta mold-mades of maenads and satyrs, the two often alternating. They were not only decorative, but also served to protect the wooden elements of the architecture.
Maenads, in Greek mythology, were the followers of Dionysus. Their name literally meaning ‘raving ones’, they were often depicted in a state of ecstacy brought about by dancing and drinking. This particular maenad wears an elaborate hairband and grape-bunch earrings.
(Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)