Miniature Terracotta Masks from the Decapolis City of Gerasa/Jerash, Jordan

Adnan Shiyab, Saad Twaissi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Masks have had a very long history in human culture. They differ in their form, function, and material through time, and from one culture to another. This paper brings attention to the newly discovered miniature terracotta masks from the classical Decapolis city of Gerasa/Jerash in Jordan dated to the Roman period. Here, four masks are introduced. The aim of this paper is to describe and to identify the personification and the function of the masks. The authors concluded that these masks are miniature replicas for pantomime characters representing Hercules and two masks for Satyr/Faunus, and the fourth mask is a replica for comic mask representing a slave character. These masks were most probably used as offerings for Dionysus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-319
Number of pages25
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Decapolis
  • Dionysus
  • Gerasa
  • Jerash
  • Jordan
  • comedy
  • pantomime
  • terracotta masks
  • theatre

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies
  • Archaeology


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