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Limestone priest

Period:
Archaic
Date:
end of the 6th century B.C.
Culture:
Cypriot
Medium:
Limestone
Dimensions:
H. 85 1/2 in. (217.2 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
74.51.2466
  • Description

    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.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in Cypriot syllabary on left shoulder "[I belong to] the Paphian (i.e. Aphrodite)"

  • Provenance

    Sanctuary of Golgoi–Ayios Photios, “West side near the temple”

  • References

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

    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.

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

    Hermary, Antoine and Joan R. Mertens. 2013. The Cesnola Collection: Stone Sculpture. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 22, Myres 1351.

  • See also
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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