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Isabelle Tassignon

Abstract

The starting point of our discussion will be a few fragmentary Hellenistic terracotta statuettes from the acropolis of Amathous that depict a woman holding a young child against her shoulder. The type has been interpreted as a variation on the theme of Aphrodite with Eros. However, recent excavations in the storage area of the palace unearthed a limestone statuette of Aphrodite, resting on a column, holding a child. Stone statuette and terracotta fragments seem to evoke the same original. Another work, from the sanctuary, adds to the attempted reconstruction of the original: it is a curious limestone bust of a woman, headless, but in a pose that seems to derive from the same iconographic model.

As we shall see, the analysis of the archaeological contexts of the respective finds suggests close links with the sanctuary of Aphrodite. We propose to place this iconographic type in the overall context of the kourotrophos goddess in Cyprus and thus determine the influence of local traditions on the type. Locally produced for a very special sanctuary, these terracottas have some specific characteristics but are based on a limestone model, which itself adapts a Hellenistic model to local demands. Can the reconstructed image be that of a cult statue coming from the very sanctuary?

Series:

Stéphanie Huysecom-Haxhi

Abstract

We have chosen to study here the naked female figure kneeling in a shell: this is a relatively uncommon theme which is articulated in several types with significant differences in the gestures, ornaments, accessories or companions. Whenever the context is known, it has always to do with sanctuaries of female divinities or graves. Our objective here is to reconsider the interpretation of this image by taking into consideration the different data at our disposal. The main question would not be to establish if they represent Aphrodite or not, but to try to understand the values that the image of a naked female body, emerging from a shell, might well represent, and help explain the presence of this object in this particular context, by or for an individual, at a particular moment of life.1

Series:

Heather Jackson

Abstract

Jebel Khalid is a Seleucid site on the Euphrates, established in the third century BCE and abandoned in the 70s BCE. The figurine corpus is largely mould-made, “Greek” in type and locally-made, but there is also a significant number of the traditional Persian riders, handmade but with stamped faces, found in all contexts. This paper briefly discusses their resemblance to the Cypriot horsemen and focuses on the survival of this figure throughout the Hellenistic period at Jebel Khalid, its possible meaning to the inhabitants and its function, taking into account variations in the representation of the rider, such as the child-carrier.

Series:

Elena Martelli

Abstract

The paper focuses on a group of clay figurines representing young/mature men wearing a calf-length tunic and holding a scroll (togati). Contextual analyses have revealed that the clay togati come from diversified contexts such as the domestic sphere, commercial areas and burials. Their occurrence is connected with harbour/river towns such as Ostia and Pompeii and they appear to be both a chronologically (end of the first-second centuries CE) and geographically (Italian peninsula) contained phenomenon. The places of recovery of the clay togati, their small number, the short production period and their peculiar iconography, characterised by very detailed facial and body features, would suggest that these artistic representations portrayed specific individuals or specific groups of workers who held certain social roles. In this work a new interpretation of these statuettes as the representation of the protective spirit (genius) of a group of harbour workers, possibly functionaries, is put forward.1

Series:

Polina Christofi

Abstract

The paper focuses on the most recent finds from the investigative excavations of the Department of Antiquities at the site of Erimi-Bamboula, in Cyprus. The new data collected from the site raise new questions relating to the beliefs and the society of the Hellenistic period, for the reason that Hellenistic (and earlier) terracottas were found together with Chalcolithic material on the floor of a Chalcolithic building. Besides a typological presentation of the figurines, the discussion deals with the context of the discovered assemblage. An attempt is made to relate the presence of the figurines in an extra-urban environment with the socio-political upheaval characterising the Early Hellenistic period and its possible implications attested by the archaeological material.1

Series:

Alessandro Russo

Abstract

Some fragments of terracotta figurines and votive clay furnishings were unearthed during the 2006/2009 excavation campaigns, which were conducted in the garden of the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus in Pompeii in the Insula Occidentalis. Votive deposits became prominent in the fourth century BCE, during the Samnite period, when Pompeii underwent significant infrastructure and urban development. The tradition of making votive deposits in this area remained constant until the early first century BCE, when votive offerings finally stopped to be deposited. Urban restructuring on Insula Occidentalis took place after Pompeii was turned into a colony by the Roman general Sulla.

Series:

Volume-editor Giorgos Papantoniou, Demetrios Michaelides and Maria Dikomitou-Eliadou

Series:

Lara Weiss

Abstract

Ancient Egyptian religious texts describe the carrier medium as a vital part of religious imagery, and precious materials like gold and lapis lazuli are often highlighted in this context. In everyday life, however, images were usually made of non-precious materials and the technology used was less refined. A few images were carved in limestone, others were made of painted pebbles, or textile and papyrus; the majority being terracotta figurines. The value of these images was apparently ascribed, rather than based on the market value of the material used. Instead of stating the perhaps obvious significance of any religious image, the pragmatism detected in the former practice is relevant indeed. It relates to the question of whether the same pragmatism applies to the method of production of these divine images: Stone and terracotta figurines were most probably manufactured by specialised craftsmen (perhaps in temple workshops); other terracotta figurines were hand-moulded. Magical texts represent handmade figurines, also made by professionals, as mere tools, and tailored for a specific ritual use only, but this rather restricted use seems not to be the case in the domestic context.

In fact, little evidence is available on the production of divine imagery in general. The identification of both producers and consumers of divine and/or ritual images is therefore vital for the understanding of a possible conceptual difference in use. Whereas complex rituals were probably not performed by just anybody, the creation of smaller images was generally not limited to religious specialists. Consequently, the question is: who made his/her own images, for what purpose, and who did not. The appearance of hand-moulded imagery could indicate a greater personal contribution represented in the agent’s effort in creating the divine; or, it could simply be an inexpensive alternative. Likewise, if displayed, purchased and perhaps more expensive figurines could enhance the owner’s status, or betray a lower personal involvement. The texts remain silent on such issues. It is, therefore, particularly challenging to analyse, by drawing on the archaeological record, the question of whether hand-moulded and professionally manufactured images were conceptualised differently. In the present article, the figurines of Roman Karanis will be used as a case study.1

Series:

Marianna Castiglione

Abstract

The Egyptianising terracotta figurines from Kharayeb, a shrine that is dated between the seventh and first centuries BCE, and it is located in the hinterland of Tyros, is analysed in order to show that the Egyptian influence was probably limited to the adoption of some technical, artistic and iconographic elements, without more significant religious implications. The recent study and reassessment of this Hellenistic figurine assemblage offers the opportunity to explore the “Alexandrian phenomenon” in the local coroplastic production, while the comparison with other classes of artefacts gives insights into the society, economy and art of this part of the Mediterranean during the formation of the so-called “Hellenistic world”.1

Series:

Volume-editor Giorgos Papantoniou, Demetrios Michaelides and Maria Dikomitou-Eliadou