The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

Peplos Kore

ACMA 679 Kore 2

The Peplos Kore is most well-known and popular pieces of Archaic Greek art. Peplos refers to the type of robe or shawl-like fabric draped over the figure and Kore meaning a girl or young female.

This white marble statue stands 1.17 cm high and was made around 530 BC and was originally colourfully painted. The statue was found, in three pieces, in an 1886 excavation near the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens.

Historians and archaeologists are in a debate about whether this status is part of the Kori tradition of a mortal girl or is she a goddess.

Her eyes are focused on an unseen distant object, and her smile is referred to as an “archaic smile”.  The body is sculpted in the round, however only the front of the body displays any detail.

ACMA 679 Kore 1

Many Kore statues survive from the Archaic period of 700-480 BCE. Kouros figures or figures of young males, survive as well. There are several differences between the two, with the most significant being that Kouros (male) statues were almost always portrayed in the nude, while Kore (female) were always clothed.

Historians think of the Kore and Kouros figures as an offering or consecrated in fulfilment of a vow for devotional purpose. Most probably as commemorations of the dead, because they are often discovered in the vicinity of cemeteries.

Other Ancient Greek masterpieces featured in “Joy of Museums”include:

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                              Peplos Kore
  • Date:                             530 BCE
  • Period:                          Archaic
  • Findspot:                     Acropolis of Athens
  • Dimensions:               H. 1.17 m
  • Discovered:                 1886
  • Museums:                   The Acropolis Museum

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“Man or Woman: a being in search of meaning.” Plato

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Photo Credit: 1) See page for author [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons  2) See page for author [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons