Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Limestone priest

end of the 6th century B.C.
H. 85 1/2 in. (217.2 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 174
The base and feet are modern; the bird is heavily restored and probably does not belong to he sculpture. The tresses on the shoulders, draping of the garments, and slight smile indicate the progressive influence of eastern Greek sculpture on that of Cyprus during he sixth century B.C. he figure's headgear, however, demonstrates the persistence of indigenous traditions. Indeed, here it is particularly remarkable, with the vertical zones of lotus motifs and the head of a bull at the top. Traces of pigment indicate that the figure was once painted. On his left shoulder are remains of a Cypriot syllabic inscription that have been read as "of the Paphian Goddess." The figure is certainly a priest of a long-lived fertility goddess who became associated with the Greek Aphrodite.
Inscription: Inscribed in Cypriot syllabary on left shoulder "[I belong to] the Paphian (i.e. Aphrodite)"
Sanctuary of Golgoi–Ayios Photios, “West side near the temple”

Myres, John L. 1914. Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus. no. 1351, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1936[1934]. A Guide to the Collections, Part 1: Ancient and Oriental Art, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Greenewalt, Crawford H. Jr. and Ann Heywood. 1992. "A Helmet of the Sixth Century B.C. from Sardis." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 285: pp. 11, 13, 23, fig. 23.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. 2000. "The New Cypriot Galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Minerva, 11(3): pp. 21-2, fig. 15.

Karageorghis, Vassos, Joan Mertens, and Marice E. Rose. 2000. Ancient Art from Cyprus: The Cesnola Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 172, pp. 109-10, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Christou, Sandra. 2012. Sexually Ambiguous Imagery in Cyprus from the Neolithic to the Cypro-Archaic Period, BAR International, 2329. p. 61, fig. 6.20, Oxford: Archaeopress.

Hermary, Antoine and Joan R. Mertens. 2013. The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art: Stone Sculpture. no. 22, pp. 37, 42–45, 74, 100, Online Publication, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Satraki, Anna. 2013. "The Iconography of Basileis in Archaic and Classical Cyprus: Manifestations of Royal Power in the Visual Record." Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, 370: pp. 130-31, fig. 5.

Related Objects

Limestone Herakles

Date: ca. 530–520 B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 74.51.2455 On view in:Gallery 174

Limestone statue of a youth

Date: early 5th century B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 74.51.2457 On view in:Gallery 175

Limestone head of beardless male votary

Date: mid–1st century B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 74.51.2787 On view in:Gallery 176

Limestone head of a bearded man

Date: early 6th century B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 74.51.2857 On view in:Gallery 174

Limestone funerary stele (shaft) with a "Cypriot capital"

Date: 5th century B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 74.51.2493 On view in:Gallery 175