Terracotta statuette of a "temple boy"

Period: Early Hellenistic

Date: 3rd century B.C.

Culture: Cypriot

Medium: Terracotta; mold-made

Dimensions: H. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76

Accession Number: 74.51.1607


Votive "temple boy" figures are more common in limestone, and small terracotta such as this are relatively rare. Various interpretations have been put on the purpose of the figures, but it seems likely that they were placed in temples to mark a rite of passage in the boy's life and secure for him divine protection. But, whatever the meaning of the figures, it is clear that they represent a Cypriot custom that drives not form the Greek world but form that of the Near East.