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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

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

2nd half of 4th century B.C.
H. 67 in. (170.2 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 176
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.
Inscription: Illegible, on front of garment
Sanctuary of Golgoi–Ayios Photios

Cesnola, Luigi Palma di. 1885. A Descriptive Atlas of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriote Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Vol. 1. pl. CXXIII.914, Boston: James R. Osgood and Company.

Connelly, Joan. 1988. Votive Sculpture of Hellenistic Cyprus. p. 80, fig. 115, Nicosia, Cyprus: Department of Antiquities of Cyprus.

Karageorghis, Vassos, Joan Mertens, and Marice E. Rose. 2000. Ancient Art from Cyprus: The Cesnola Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 403, pp. 248-9, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hermary, Antoine and Joan R. Mertens. 2013. The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art: Stone Sculpture. no. 251, pp. 198–200, Online Publication, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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] p. 134, n. 127, 141, n. 167, Graz: Unipress graz.

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