Art/ 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”

Doell, Johannes. 1873. Die Sammlung Cesnola. no. 1, p. 11, pl. I.12, St. Petersburg: L’Académie Impérial des Sciences.

Cesnola, Luigi Palma di. 1877. Cyprus: Its Ancient Cities, Tombs, and Temples. A Narrative of Researches and Excavations During Ten Years' Residence in That Island. p. 132, London: John Murray.

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. LXV.431, Boston: James R. Osgood and Company.

Perrot, Georges and Charles Chipiez. 1885. Histoire de l'Art dans l'Antiquité. t. 3, Phénicie, Cypre. p. 510, fig. 349, Paris: Hachette.

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. no. 262, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Masson, Olivier. 1961. Les Inscriptions Chypriotes Syllabiques: Recueil Critique et Commenté. Paris: E. de Boccard.

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.

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.

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

Karageorghis, Jacqueline. 2005. Kypris: the Aphrodite of Cyprus: Ancient Sources and Archaeological Evidence. pp. 111, 167–68, fig. 173, Nicosia, Cyprus: Foundation Anasatasios G. Leventis.

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.

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