Statuette of a female tambourine player

Unknown"550-500 BC" - ""

Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art
Athens, Greece

Common in Cypriot art of the Archaic period (750-480 BC) are terracotta or stone figures, male or female, holding or playing a musical instrument - lyre, flute (aulos) or tambourine. These are found mainly as votive offerings in sanctuaries, but also as grave goods in cemeteries. The limestone figurine illustrated here is of a female with fillet in her hair and rich jewellery (necklace and earrings), who beats the tambourine with her right hand. Tambourine-players are particularly popular among representations of musicians, possibly because rhythmical music was essential for ritual dances performed in sanctuaries, such as those of Aphrodite at Paphos and Kition. These statuettes are rather difficult to interpret. They are generally thought to represent worshippers. However, since examples exist in which the musician (tambourine or lyre-player) wears sacerdotal vestments, it is possible that some of them represent priestesses, who participated in or perhaps officiated at cult ceremonies.


  • Title: Statuette of a female tambourine player
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: "550-500 BC" - ""
  • Read more: <a href="http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=resource&cresrc=1216&cnode=67&clang=1">Read more</a>
  • Provenance: Unknown
  • Physical Dimensions: w108 x h290 mm
  • Period: Archaic period
  • Culture: Cypriot
  • Type: statuette
  • Rights: N.P. Goulandris Foundation - Museum of Cycladic Art, Th.N. Zintilis Collection, no. 399, http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=NODE&cnode=25&clang=1
  • External Link: Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece
  • Medium: limestone

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