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Terracotta figure of a woman in Greek dress

 

Height: 21.000 cm

Miss E.T. Turner Bequest excavations

GR 1894.11-1.303 (Terracotta A 410)

Room 72: Ancient Cyprus

    Terracotta figure of a woman in Greek dress

    From Tomb 105 at Amathus, Cyprus
    About 300-250 BC

    A Cypriot version of an Athenian type of terracotta

    This terracotta belongs to the time when Cyprus was part of the large Hellenistic state of Egypt. Cypriot artefacts of this period generally reflect the styles that were wide-spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean, where Greek influence was dominant. This woman belongs to a series of terracottas known as the 'Tanagra' group after a site in Boeotia, northern Greece, where they were first found. It is, however, now clear that the style developed in Athens from where it spread to all corners of the Hellenistic world.

    Tanagra figures have small heads and lean bodies which are tightly draped. This figure of a woman wears a chiton (tunic) with a himation (cloak) draped tightly across her body and right shoulder, covering her arm. Her hair is typically arranged in the 'melon coiffure', divided on the crown into segments and combed into a bun at the back. She wears a thick wreath made from the heads of hundreds of tiny flowers threaded onto a rope of grass. Many such wreaths have been found in tombs at Hawara in Egypt, which must be credited with their origin.

    V. Tatton-Brown, Ancient Cyprus, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

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    On display: Room 72: Ancient Cyprus

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