• r2-3-10
    Small crowned female head, front. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-3-20
    Female head, right profile. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Small, Crowned Female Head

Ca. 600 BC, Lydian
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 6682
Museum Inventory No.
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture Type
Human Figure
Findspot unknown.

The hair is stylized in large “Daedalic” beads, with waves over the forehead; they are separated by incised lines on her right side with eight vertical beads in two tresses. Plain in back, the hair falls over the back of the throne. It curves around the face, which is widest at cheek level. On the front of the crown is a raised pattern with two small, symmetrical drilled holes near the top, read by several observers as a monster or lion protome. The type was probably that of a goddess seated on a throne; the two broken projections from the back of the throne join the neck and, therefore, could not be wings.

In general the crown belongs to the Hittite-Asiatic “cylindrical type.” Straight in front, it seems to rise in the back on a slant like Hittite pointed caps. If read as animal, the pattern on the crown resembles Orientalizing monster and griffin masks (cf. Matz, Geschichte der greichischen Kunst I, figs. 57b and 60). While decoration of poloi with plants and human figures is known, there seem to be no examples with animal masks (Müller, Der Polos, 32f.; F.R. Grace, Archaic Sculpture in Boeotia, figs. 17-19, 33f., 37-39).

The back has a suggestion of a high-backed throne. The seated goddess type, widespread from the late 7th C. on in terracottas, offers many general parallels (infra). The piece may come from a small temple image. A wooden statuette of a comparable size has been claimed as a possible image of Hera of Samos (Ohly-Köpcke, Neue Holzfunde, 91ff., Beil. 45-47, ca. 640 B.C.). The identity of the goddess is not certain; griffin (hawk?) or lion mask would suit Cybele best but Artemis cannot be ruled out, cf. the discussions under Cat. 238, Cat. 274 (Figs. 413-415, 465-466).

The date of ca. 600 B.C. is given by stylistic resemblance of hair and eyes to statues from Eleutherna and Haghigeorgitika (Matz, Geschichte der griechischen Kunst I, fig. 126; Jenkins, Dedalica 51, 76, 79, pls. 8-10, esp. 9:1). The general effect was like that of the goddesses from the temple of Prinias (Matz, Geschichte der griechischen Kunst I, figs. 84-85). This is an early archaic original rather than archaising Roman copy. For an archaising rendering of a statue of comparable style see Cat. 194 (Fig. 344).


Fine white marble.

Broken at neck and at sides of throne. Face below eyes broken off, also some of crown at back.

H. 0.07; H. of crown 0.02; W. with throne 0.054, W. of face 0.022. Estimated H. if seated 0.22-0.25.
For the crown see Akurgal, Spätheth., figs. 4, 10ff., on poloi; Müller, Der Polos form pl. A, 56-59, 63; B, 68-88, 95. For seated goddess type see e.g. R.A. Higgins, Catalogue of the Terracottas I, 51, Rhodian type, 66f., 128; 67, no. 132, Cybele; 175ff., nos. 655ff., pls. 85f.; Boeotia, 205, no. 767, pl. 101; Sicily, 312, no. 1151, pl. 157; Tarentum, 337, no. 1235, pl. 170. F.R. Grace, Archaic Sculpture in Boeotia with high-backed throne, 39, fig. 46, ca. 550 B.C.
See Also