April 2018

Female Bust

Clay busts appear in the ancient Greek world in the mid-6th century BC and continue until the 1st century BC.

They are fragmentary representations mainly of the female body and they can be single-sided or three-dimensional. They can be classified into two categories: the ones in the form of a mask, where only the head is represented, and the busts, where the body is represented down to the waist or the hips.

The busts that don't have a back usually have a hole on the top of the head for suspension. The three-dimensional ones were usually placed on shelves. Busts are commonly found in sanctuaries of female deities, as votive offerings, in burials mostly of young women, adolescents and children, as grave goods, and in houses, where they were possibly used as religious representations, as talismans to protect from the evil eye, or even for decorative purposes. They are considered to represent either mortals, dedicators or personifications of deceased, or deities, such as Hera, Artemis, Athena, Cybele, Aphrodite, or the Nymphs. They are also identified as the chthonic deities, Demeter and Persephone, Despoina, Aphrodite Antheia.

The specific example belongs to the category of bust-mask. Τhis type is particularly widespread during the 5th c. BC in Asia Minor, northern and central Greece, the Αegean islands and specifically Rhodes, in central Greece, along the coast of the Black Sea and Sicily.

Dating: 500-480 BC
Origin: From the cemetery of ancient Akanthos (Ierissos), Chalkidiki

You can see the exhibit at the temporary exhibition Figurines. A microcosm of clay, showcase 19