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Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
From the eighth century B.C., Greek poets associated the goddess Aphrodite with Cyprus, since the island was considered her birthplace. On Cyprus itself, however, the local Great Goddess did not become assimilated with Aphrodite until the fourth century B.C., when the worship of many Greek divinities was introduced. In this work, the goddess is clearly identified as Aphrodite by the small fragmentary figure of Eros, winged god of love, who perches on her left arm and places his right hand on the goddess' left breast. The Cypriots did not adopt a conventional Greek way to represent Aphrodite but transferred their own iconography for the Great Goddess of their island to images of the Greek goddess of love. Here Aphrodite has long tresses of hair falling over her shoulders, a motif taken from Archaic Greek sculpture, and she wears a chiton with himation (cloak) drawn up over the back of her headdress. Her high round crown decorated with vegetal and floral motifs is a type of headdress associated with the Syro-Phoenician fertility goddess Astarte.
European; Southern European; Cypriot
Statue of Aphrodite holding winged Eros
late 4th century B.C.
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Said to be from the temple at Golgoi
H. 49 3/4 in. (126.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874-76
Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art . All rights reserved.
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