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Marble figure of a Woman – Spedos Type (British Museum) 

Marble figure of a Woman - Spedos Type

Marble figure of a Woman – Spedos Type

This Cycladic figurine is a female figure with an elongated slender form with folded arms. This marble sculpture is a fabulous creation of the Cycladic Culture and was probably associated with ancient Aegean religious beliefs. The marble figure has a flat profile with broad shoulders, the breasts are in relatively higher relief, and the abdomen is slightly protuberant. The legs are more rounded and separated by a deep groove. The head is of the usual Cycladic type, bent back and thin, with a long narrow nose. This figurine is slightly damaged with the feet broken away, and the head has been reconnected.

The Cycladic culture flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea from c. 3300 to 1100 BCE and together with the Minoan and Mycenaean was among the three primary Aegean civilizations.  The Spedos type of sculpture figurines is named after an Early Cycladic cemetery on the island of Naxos. This type has the most extensive distribution within the Cyclades and the Aegean area. The figurines range in height from miniature figures of 8 cm to monumental sculptures of 1.5 m.  They are characterized by U-shaped heads and a deeply incised cleft between the legs.

Reflections on the Cycladic Marble figure of a Woman

  • How does this creative effort compare to modern Cubism art?
  • As highly stylized representations of the female human form, how does it compare to today’s modern art?
  • Why were these Cycladic figures popular for thousands of years in the ancient Aegean?
  • Is there something enduring about the simplicity of this art?
  • Why were these figures so popular for thousands of years in Europe’s first civilizations?

Marble figure of a Woman – Spedos Type

  • Title:             Marble figure of a Woman – Spedos Type
  • Date:            2500BC-2300BC
  • Culture:        Keros-Syros Culture
  • Place:            Cyclades, Greece
  • Materials:     Marble
  • Dimensions:  H: 33.2 cm
  • Acquisition:  1863
  • Museum:      The British Museum

A Tour of the British Museum

Ancient Egypt and Sudan Collection

Middle East Collection

Ancient Greece and Rome Collection

Britain, Europe, and Prehistory Collection

Asian Collection

Africa, Oceania and the Americas Collection

The Prints and Drawings Collection

Information on The British Museum


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– Greek Proverb


Photo Credit: 1)JOM; Content: Content from Wikipedia articles on the above subjects is licensed under CC-BY-SA 

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