Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Standing male figurine holding a quadruped, ca. 750–600 b.c.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873–76 (74.51.1613)

    Standing warrior (?), ca. 750–600 b.c.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873–76 (74.51.1614)

    Standing warrior with a shield, ca. 750–600 b.c.
    Cypriot; Said to be from Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873–76 (74.51.1655)

    Standing male figurine playing a double flute, ca. 750–600 b.c.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873–76 (74.51.1691)

    Standing male figurine, ca. 750–600 b.c.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873–76 (74.51.1692)

    To this day, Cyprus is famous for its large and small terracotta creations, a fact easily explained by the abundance of clay on the island. During the period of ca. 800–500 B.C., the coroplastic art of Cyprus reached its apogee. Numerous terracotta figurines were produced at this time. They are found in tombs and in sanctuaries, where they were brought as offerings. In the earlier periods, the most popular motif in coroplastics was the female figure, a traditional symbol of fertility; whereas during the Cypro-Archaic period (ca. 750–480 B.C.), male figures become very prominent: they represent votaries, adorants, warriors, and musicians. The figurines illustrated here display a rich variety of activities, poses, and gestures.

    The statuettes have a cylindrical hollow body that is wheel-made and widens toward the base. The arms and various attributes are always handmade. The head, also modeled by hand, is rather roughly shaped, with a thick, projecting nose and pointed beard, which often gives the face a birdlike appearance. Small pellets of clay serve as ears. Details of the face and dress were consistently painted with dots and lines in black and red colors, most of which are still preserved today.

    All five figurines have perforations on the sides of their flaring skirtlike gowns for attaching movable legs that are now lost. The figurines can now stand quite easily on their round open bases. When the legs were in place, however, the statuettes could not have stood upright on their own; instead, they were hung with their legs swinging freely, creating the impression that the figurine was moving by itself, as if walking or dancing. Thus, each statuette of this kind has a perforation in the headdress for suspension.

    One figurine can be distinguished as a warrior. Protecting himself with a shield, he is represented as if participating in a combat: the position of his right hand that once surely held either a sword or a spear testifies to this. There is also a personage playing a double flute. The other three can probably be identified as offering bearers, actual offerings now missing from the hands of two figurines. A person carrying an animal as an offering to a divinity was no doubt a common scene in ancient sanctuaries of all periods and cultures. The same is true in regards to a flute player: gods were thought to enjoy music, thus most religious rituals involved musicians.

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  • Standing male figurine holding a quadruped, ca. 750–600 B.C.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873-76 (74.51.1613)

    Standing warrior (?), ca. 750–600 B.C.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873-76 (74.51.1614)

    Standing warrior with a shield, ca. 750–600 B.C.
    Cypriot; Said to be from Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873-76 (74.51.1655)

    Standing male figurine playing a double flute, ca. 750–600 B.C.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873-76 (74.51.1691)

    Standing male figurine, ca. 750–600 B.C.
    Cypriot; Said to be from a tomb at Ormidhia
    Terracotta
    The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by Subscription, 1873-76 (74.51.1692)

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