cypriot art

Limestone head from the statue of a worshiper of Apollo, bearded and wearing a helmet with upturned cheek-pieces.  Found at the sanctuary of Apollo in the ancient city of Idalion, Cyprus.  Artist unknown; ca. 525-500 BCE.  Now in the British Museum.  Photo credit: George M. Groutas/Wikimedia Commons.

“This statue carries within herself a history of the worship of the feminine principle that echoed up through time. Even today our most basic, universal human experience is that of our mother’s body. It is our very first sensation.”

This week on Getty Voices, educator and religion buff Erin Branham talks about the ancient sacred and the differences between religion in ancient times and today.

Fertility Goddess, made on Cyprus, 3000–2500 B.C. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Silver stater from Salamis, Cyprus, c. 445-411 BC,

This extremely rare coin minted under an uncertain king shows a recumbent ram with a pellet-in-crescent above, “Euelthon” in Cypriot around. The reverse shows a large ornate ankh enclosing Cypriot letter ku; Cypriot letters ko and ru flanking, floral ornaments in corners; all within incuse square.

Salamis was an ancient Greek city-state on the east coast of Cyprus, at the mouth of the river Pedieos, about 4 miles north of modern Famagusta. According to tradition the founder of Salamis was Teucer, son of Telamon, who could not return home after the Trojan war because he had failed to avenge his brother Ajax.

~Limestone statue of a bearded man with votive offerings.
Period: Classical
Date: ca. 475–450 B.C.
Culture: Cypriot
Medium: Limestone

This statue of a man dedicated in a temple at Golgoi reflects the influence of Greek sculptural style in Cypriot art of the fifth century B.C. The lifesize figure wears a typical eastern Greek costume consisting of a finely pleated linen chiton and a wool himation (cloak). He stands with the left foot advanced in a pose that renders a subtle sense of movement. The slight Archaic smile and the jewel-like precision with which the hair and the beard were carved bring to mind Greek Archaic art of the sixth century B.C.
This votive figure wears a wreath of oak leaves and stylized narcissus flowers, which must have evoked ideas of fertility and regeneration. In his left hand he holds a dove, perhaps intended as a gift for the deity of the temple at Golgoi.