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


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.