Lady of Galera

Early 8th century BC

Museo Arqueológico Nacional

Museo Arqueológico Nacional
Madrid, Spain

Discovered by chance in 1916, this piece was given to the National Archaeological Museum in 1922. It is the sculpture itself that makes it unique, representing an enthroned goddess who can be identified as Astarte, seated on a throne flanked by sphinxes that act as protectors. Designed with a hollow head and bust to be used to pour perfumed oil during rituals. Both the sculpture and the type of ceremony that was performed along with it have a sacred nature, reinforced by the perfumed oil that was used to anoint the deceased person to ensure their deification in the afterlife. This custom has a strong connection to the East, where statues of gods were anointed with perfumed oils. Recent proposals suggest the possibility of the existence of a graffitied ‘A’ on the left cheek, associated with the name of the owner. Technically, it has been executed with a high level of detail, carved on all sides. Stylistically, it has been related to ivory pieces from northern Syria, and it is possibly the work of a Syrian-Phoenician workshop.


  • Title: Lady of Galera
  • Date Created: Early 8th century BC
  • Provenance: Necropolis of Tutugi, Zone I, tomb 20 (Galera, Granada, Spain)
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Museo Arqueológico Nacional
  • External Link: CERES
  • Medium: Alabaster
  • Cultural Context: Phoenician

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