• r2-9-5
    Draped female figure, front. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-9-10
    Draped female figure, front. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-9-20
    Draped female figure, detail of face and shoulders. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • r2-9-30
    Draped female figure, drawing. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Relief of Frontal Standing Draped Female Figure

520-500 BC, Late Lydian (Persian)
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 3941
Museum Inventory No.
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Limestone, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture Type
Human Figure, Naiskos, Votive Relief, Draped Woman
Hillock with Türbe (saint’s tomb) known as Dede Mezarı, ca. 1.5 km. W of village of Sart Mahmut, ca. 0.5 km. S of Highway TC 98. For ancient masonry and a Lydian (?) brick stamp cf. BASOR 162, 49, fig. 32; for archaic Ionic capital found in 1976 cf. AASOR, forthcoming. The finder had built the relief into his house in Sart Mahmut.

The figure is carved into the flat broad surface of a rectangular limestone block which is plain on the sides and back. The background was treated with claw chisel, then smoothed. She stands with her small short feet parallel and slightly apart, arms hanging down the sides with part of the r. hand preserved. A simple lock of hair is partly preserved on the l. side of the head. Two small, drilled holes above each temple probably held a metal wreath or crown. Around her neck she wears a necklace of acorns, presumably imagined to be of gold. (Cf. Sardis XIII, nos. 23 and 33, pls. 2f.)

She wears a chiton folded over the belt with a bunch of vertical folds (paryphe) gathered in the center of the skirt. The upper part has flat-carved vertical folds, the lower, nearly horizontal wavy folds radiating symmetrically from a central pleat. The linear folds are sensitively cut. The breasts are indicated under the garment.

There is a large semicircular hollow (W. 0.08) 0.05 below her feet; within it is a round hole (diam. 0.015; D. 0.01) made by a round metal peg. The nearly hemispherical hole may have been for a piece of wood with metal dowel. A shrine-like (naiskos-like) frame, raised 0.04 above the background, goes all around the rectangular block. Its top projects beyond the side “pilasters” (cf. Fig. 60).

The same costume is worn by Acropolis maidens 670 and 683, dated ca. 525-515 B.C. by Richter and 510-500 by E. B. Harrison. Of these, the kore 683 has similar “dumpy” proportions. It is not clear whether the Lydian sculptor misunderstood the nearly horizontal folds seen on the Acropolis maidens or was rendering a different kind of skirt.

As to function, similar frontal figures in a simple frame are interpreted as votaries in Miletus. If a mortal kore is intended, this stele could be votive or funerary. The figure may also be compared with the series of frontal figures of Cybele standing in a shrine which begins with early examples in Phrygia and may have continued in more Hellenized fashion in Lydia. Lacking crown or lion, the goddess could not be Cybele, but because the emphatic jewelry might be Aphrodite. The piece is rustic Lydian, provincial but not insensitive.


Chalky, dense, soft, white limestone, much stained (quite different from regular hard and friable “Bin Tepe” limestone).

Missing parts of frame, most of face, part of r. hand, part of lock on l. side. Battered on breast. Probably originally painted but no pigment traces survive.

H. 0.495, of figure 0.411, of relief 0.04; W. 0.13, of figure 0.13; Th. 0.215; projection of “roof” beyond pilaster 0.015.
For overall type and costume see Richter, Korai, nos. 119, 120, figs. 377-384 (Acropolis 670, 683); Payne-Young, Archaic Marble Sculpture, 36, pl. 59: 1-3; Harrison, Agora XI, 21, no. 75, pl. 7. For frame, votary, Richter, Korai, no. 70, fig. 228. For Cybele in naiskos, Temizer, Bas-relief de Cybele, 35-39. Hanfmann-Waldbaum, “Kybele”, 267, ill. Akurgal, Kunst Anatoliens, 86ff., figs. 54, 60.
See Also
BASOR162, 49, fig. 31.