Reconstructed sculpture of a front facing female bust. This new reconstruction of the Iberian Dame has been put together from two groups of fragmented pieces. One group consists of the head and part of the neck with elements of personal adornment and clothing, and the other is a series of necklaces which cover the chest. Neither group of fragments coincide, however given the similarity of the stone, the carving and the location of the finds, there is no doubt that the pieces come from the same sculpture.
The most damaged part of the head is the face. Practically no facial features survive however, it was possible to attach a number of small loose fragments to give form to more than half the face, mostly the left hand side. The forehead is slightly inclined and the eye (mostly lost) has been underscored with an incision and is almond shaped. The nose, the tip of which is missing, is straight and flares slightly at the sides, which defines wide nostrils. The mouth is uneven and is emphasised by full lips. The somewhat prominent jaw attaches to the beginning of the neck, which suggests that it was not very robust.
The sculpture is covered by a robe, apparently quite heavy as there is a V-shaped fold on top of the head, and the robe is open from the hair coils down. The robe covers a headdress, visible on the forehead, and this upper decoration is completed by a piece of jewellery, which appears beneath the edge of the headdress. This is formed by a continuous series of semicircles and is most probably a diadem.
The most striking features, which bring to mind straight away the “Dama de Elche”, are the large coils either side of the head to hold the hair, although these are more schematic than those of the Dama de Elche. The original coils were probably made out of sheets of metal.
The other group of fragments which form part of the reconstructed sculpture are pieces of the chest covered with necklaces. A slight projection in the upper part of the chest indicates the presence of the rounded neckline of a tunic. Medallions hang from two of the necklaces, which represent “languette” (tongue) shaped pieces of gold or silver, strung together by what would have been metal chains or hoops. The other two necklaces would have been made of glass paste. The upper one consists of beads in the shape of flat and spherical olives, and the lower one, of pairs of discoidal beads between which are placed barrel-shaped beads. Like other sculptures from the cemetery site, the “Dama de Cabezo Lucero” was destroyed in the Iberian period, and some of the pieces were used as wedges for cremation urns in graves. This “iconoclastic” phenomenon has been found in other cemeteries and was, according to the latest investigations, perhaps caused by social upheavals or changes in rituals at the end of the 5th and beginning of the 4th centuries.
Regardless of what the original use of the bust was, its characteristics are undeniably similar to those of the most famous of all Iberian sculptures, the “Dama de Elche”. This resolves a number of issues. Firstly, that the Dama de Elche is not a unique object nor is it a fake, as an American scholar suggested a few years ago. Secondly, that the sculpture from Guardamar was found in a scientific archaeological excavation and in a location not far from Elche, which should clear up any lingering doubts concerning the antiquity of this famous sculpture. The close geographic position of both Dames, as well as the existence of other examples of Dames (not examined here), have lead to the theory that there existed a defined group of sculptures in the area of the modern day regions of the Bajo Vinalopó and Bajo Segura. These Dames could be a form of expression which represent a homogenous cultural area, in the south of the Iberian Contestania region.
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