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Marble statue of Chares, ruler of Teichioussa

 

Height: 1.490 m

Excavated by Sir Charles Thomas Newton

GR 1859.12-26.5 (Scultpure B 278, Inscription 933)

    Marble statue of Chares, ruler of Teichioussa

    East Greek, around 560 BC
    Made in an east Greek workshop; found at Didyma, modern Turkey

    One of the earliest named royal portraits from the Greek speaking world

    It is rare to find a sculpture inscribed with the name of both the subject and the god to whom it was dedicated. The Greek inscription on the right side of the chair addresses the viewer in the first person: the statue tells us 'I am Chares, son of Kleisias, ruler of Teichioussa, the statue belongs to Apollo'. Apart from this statue, Chares is unknown in the historical record. Lined up along the Sacred Way were many other similar figures, some men, others women, varying only in details and scale. The statues were recorded and drawn by J.P. Gandy in 1821. Ten figures, including this one, were excavated and brought to The British Museum by Charles Newton in 1859. Similar statues were unearthed in later excavations and are to be found in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and the Archaeological Museum, Istanbul and near the original site.

    Chares sits grandly on his elaborate chair, raised on a cushion. He wears a sleeved chiton (tunic) over which is draped an himation (cloak). The pleats of the garments are rendered in a series of simple, vertical and diagonal lines, and others lie in broad, flat layers over his legs. The body is massive, broad, and rounded - characteristics typical of the east Greek Archaic sculptural workshops. An appealing feature is the way in which the large toes follow on from the vertical pleats of the chiton around the feet. The whole figure was painted, and traces of patterns on the drapery and the cushion remain.

    S. Walker, Greek and Roman portraits (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

    A. Johnston, 'Pre-classical Greece' in The Oxford history of classica (Oxford, 1993)

    L. Burn, The British Museum book of G-1, revised edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

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