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Historic Images of the Greek Bronze Age: The Reproductions of E. Gilliéron and Son

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Limestone statue of a man holding a mask in the form of a bull's head

Period:
Classical
Date:
2nd half of 4th century B.C.
Culture:
Cypriot
Medium:
Limestone
Dimensions:
H. 67 in. (170.2 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
74.51.2463
  • Description

    From the Late Bronze Age onward bull's heads played a role in certain religious rituals on Cyprus. Actual skulls with openings at the back to be worn as masks, terracotta bull's heads, and figures wearing bull's heads as masks have been found on the island, suggesting that some deity was worshiped in this manner. This statue probably represents a priest holding such a mask, which he would have worn during some solemn rite, perhaps for a god associated with fertility.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Illegible, on front of garment

  • Provenance

    Sanctuary of Golgoi–Ayios Photios

  • References

    Hermary, Antoine and Joan R. Mertens. 2013. The Cesnola Collection: Stone Sculpture. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 251.

    Scherrer, Peter, Gabriele Koiner, and Anja Ulbrich. 2013. Hellenistisches Zypern [Hellenistic Cyprus. Proceedings of the International Conference, Department of Archaeology, University of Graz, 14 October 2010] Graz: Unipress graz, p. 134, n. 127, 141, n. 167.

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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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