- Museum number
- Series: The Parthenon Sculptures
Marble statue from the East pediment of the Parthenon (East pediment A). The East pediment showed the miraculous birth of the goddess Athena from the head of her father Zeus. Many of the figures from the central scene are now fragmentary or entirely lost.
East pediment A survives as a part of the upper body of a male figure on a plinth, made from a single piece of marble. The sculpture represents a charioteer, part of a group with four horses. The charioteer is carved as if rising out of the sea. Waves are carved across the cheat. The remains of the neck show that the head was tilted upwards, parallel to the arms, which also rise out of water. The hands originally held the reins of the four-horses (East pediment B and C). Most of the head, right hand and wrist, and left hand, wrist and forearm are missing, though a left hand in the Acropolis Museum, Athens, may belong to this figure. On the top waves are carved in shallow relief, so that the figure appears as if he and his chariot are emerging from water. The metal reins, now lost, would have been attached to the upper surface of the plinth under the right forearm where a dowel hole remains.
The sculpture has been identified as Helios, the sun-god, rising from the sea at dawn. It was positioned in the very left-hand corner of the pediment, and was complemented by the chariot of Selene, the moon-goddess, or Nyx, goddess of the night, sinking beneath the horizon, in the right-hand corner of the pediment.
- Production date
- Bibliographic references
Sculpture / Catalogue of Greek Sculpture in the British Museum (303.A)
Smith 1892 / A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum (pp.103, 106)
Smith 1910 / The sculptures of the Parthenon (pp.8-9, pl.1)
Brommer 1963 / Die Skulpturen der Parthenon-Giebel (pp.3-4, pl.20-22)
Palagia 1993 / The pediments of the Parthenon (pp.18-19, 61, fig.24-25, 29)
Choremi-Spetsieri 2004 / The Sculptures of the Parthenon: Acropolis, British Museum, Louvre (p.121, fig.87)
- On display (G18)
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number