Central scene of the east frieze of the Parthenon


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

The procession pictured in the Ionic frieze of the Parthenon culminates on the east side of the building. Above the porch columns, at the approach to the great doorway, was placed an unusually long block of stone carved with a scene showing a folded cloth. This is thought to be the sacred robe or peplos of Athena that was escorted to the Acropolis by the procession of the Great Panathenaic Festival, held in Athens every four years. The robe was escorted through the city on a ship that moved on wooden rollers. Once on the Acropolis the peplos was dedicated to the ancient olive wood statue of Athena Polias ('guardian of the city').

Here, on the left, a bearded man, draped in the long tunic typical of a priest performing a sacrifice, faces a child. Together they hold the folded garment. To the right, Athena is seated on a stool, while Hephaistos, the smith of the gods, turns towards her.


  • Title: Central scene of the east frieze of the Parthenon
  • Date Created: -438/-432
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: classical deity; attendant; ancient egyptian deity
  • Registration number: 1816,0610.19
  • Production place: Made in Athens
  • Producer: Designed by Pheidias
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Parthenon
  • Period/culture: Classical Greek
  • Material: marble
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Elgin

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