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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Head of a Cycladic Statue, Keros-Syros Culture

Head of a Cycladic Statue, Keros-Syros Culture - National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Head of a Cycladic Statue, Keros-Syros Culture

This head of a Cycladic Statue is similar to the ancient Cycladic art that flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea from c. 3300 to 1100 BCE. The Cycladic culture is one of three dominant Aegean cultures along with the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations. This marble head highlights the critical sculptured features of the nose, ears and mouth. The face is typical of the elongated oval Cycladic faces and is set on a long neck which may have been broken off a larger body. The sculpture has evidence of painted eyes and red vertical striations on the right check.

This 4,500-years-old sculpture was created by the Keros-Syros culture, which is named after two islands in the Cyclades, Keros and Syros.  This culture flourished during the Early Cycladic II period (ca 2700-2300 BC) of the Cycladic civilisation. The trade relations of this culture spread far and wide from the Greek mainland to Crete and Asia Minor. The Keros-Syros culture is well represented by many cemeteries on Amorgos, where this sculpture was found. Amorgos is the easternmost island of the Cyclades island group, and during the Early Cycladic period, Amorgos had many inhabited centres and was the origin of many famous Cycladic figurines.

Exploring Europe’s earliest Sculptures

Reflections

  • Does this sculpture represent a male or female figure?
  • Does this earliest of European statues, echo the wooden masks of Africa?

Head of a Cycladic Statue, Keros-Syros Culture

  • Name:        Head of a Cycladic Statue, Keros-Syros Culture
  • Date:          2800 – 2300 BC
  • Period:       Early Cycladic II
  • Material:    Parian Marble
  • Culture:      Keros-Syros culture
  • Find site:    Amorgos
  • Museum:   National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Exploring the National Archaeological Museum

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“Time is the wisest counsellor of all.”
– Pericles

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Photo Credit: JOM

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