Terracotta figure of a woman in Greek dress


British Museum

British Museum

This terracotta belongs to the time when Cyprus was part of the large Hellenistic state of Egypt. Cypriot artefacts of this period generally reflect the styles that were wide-spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean, where Greek influence was dominant. This woman belongs to a series of terracottas known as the 'Tanagra' group after a site in Boeotia, northern Greece, where they were first found. It is, however, now clear that the style developed in Athens from where it spread to all corners of the Hellenistic world. Tanagra figures have small heads and lean bodies which are tightly draped. This figure of a woman wears a chiton (tunic) with a himation (cloak) draped tightly across her body and right shoulder, covering her arm. Her hair is typically arranged in the 'melon coiffure', divided on the crown into segments and combed into a bun at the back. She wears a thick wreath made from the heads of hundreds of tiny flowers threaded onto a rope of grass. Many such wreaths have been found in tombs at Hawara in Egypt, which must be credited with their origin.

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  • Title: Terracotta figure of a woman in Greek dress
  • Date Created: -225/-175
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 21.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: mould-made; painted
  • Subject: devotee/worshipper
  • Registration number: 1894,1101.303
  • Production place: Made in Cyprus
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Amathus
  • Period/culture: Hellenistic
  • Material: terracotta
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Excavated by Turner Bequest Excavations, Amathus. Funded by Turner, Emma Tourner