Marble head of a kore (maiden)

East Greek, around 550 BC
From Kamiros, Rhodes, Aegean Sea

Two of the most distinctive forms of free-standing sculpture to emerge during the Archaic period of Greek art (about 600-480 BC) were statues of youths (kouroi) and maidens (korai). The male figures, usually in the form of naked young men, acted both as grave markers and as votive offerings, the latter perhaps intended to be representations of the dedicator. The female figures served similar functions, but differed from their male counterparts in that they were elaborately draped. Inscriptions sometimes survive along with the statues, and mention the names of the subjects. However they are not true portraits, but generic types created to represent young men and women.

Most of the Archaic sculpture in the British Museum was discovered in the eastern Aegean islands and in sanctuaries in western Turkey, and therefore derives from East Greek workshops. This head, from the important city of Kamiros on Rhodes, is rather battered, but shows the typical features of East Greek korai of the mid-sixth century BC. The eyes are long, slanting and almond shaped, the lips form a delicate smile, typical of Archaic sculpture in general, and the face is fleshy and rounded. Her hair is elaborately carved, waving in narrow strands from a central parting, then forming a broader and flatter mass behind her headband. The top of her head is pierced by two dowel holes for the attachment of a meniskos, a metal circular attachment that protected sculptures from the elements and from birds.

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More information

Bibliography

G.Kokkorou-Alevras, 'Ionian sculpture of the Archaic period on Dorian Rhodes' in Sculptors and sculpture of Car (London, 1997)

Dimensions

Height: 9.000 inches
Width: 5.000 inches

Museum number

GR 1864.10-7.50 (Sculpture B 326)

GAA5832

Location

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