Few statues in antiquity were as distinctive as the cult statue of the goddess Artemis, or Diana, as the Romans called her, in her temple at Ephesos in modern-day Turkey. Although the original cult statue does not survive, numerous small-scale replicas do, like this Roman statuette made in the 100s A.D.

An assortment of animals and objects that symbolize Artemis's association with fertility and her role as mistress of the beasts cover the goddess. Griffins and other winged creatures decorate the nimbus that surrounds her head. The crab on the goddess's chest probably alluded to the astrological sign of Cancer. Lions rest on her extended forearms, and the lower part of her dress has bulls, bees and sphinxes. The most striking feature, however, is the rows of pendant objects on her torso. Scholars have identified these variously as breasts, eggs, beehives, or bulls' testicles.

The tower on Artemis's head, as well as the figure's face, hands, and feet are restorations made in the 1700s when the statuette was in the collection of Dr. Mead, the court physician to King George II and a friend of Alexander Pope.


  • Title: Statuette of Diana of Ephesos (Back)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2nd century A.D.
  • Location Created: Asia Minor (?)
  • Physical Dimensions: 30.8 × 8.7 × 8.2 cm (12 1/8 × 3 3/8 × 3 3/16 in.)
  • Type: Mythological figure
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Alabaster
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 81.AA.134
  • Culture: Roman
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Gift of Max Falk
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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