The clay fragment, named "Lady of Sibari" arrived to the Museum through the Santangelo collection, in 1864. The find probably comes from the sanctuarial area of Timpone della Motta in Francavilla (now in Calabria). It represents a female figure, preserved from the waist down.
The Lady of Sibari (650-625 B.C.)Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
The figurine was published for the first time in the catalogue “The earthenware figures of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples” by Alda Levi in 1926 and it was named “Fragment of an archaic divinity in bas-relief”.
It has been then identified as Athena, the worshipped deity of the sanctuary, and its name comes from Paola Zancani’s researches in Timpone della Motta site, which started in 1963.
The find, dating to the second half of the 7th century B.C., was part of a series of pinakes (votive slabs) with similar representations and it was confirmed by the discovery of other fragments with the same subject, on the Timpone della Motta site.
Nowadays, the same iconographic type is attested by only five specimens in the world.
The figure wears a high belt which makes a garment adhere to the hips.
The garment is decorated by a succession of three decorative registers which alternate with bands, adorned by a braid motif.
From the top down, the symbolic storytelling of the friezes reports: Aiace who carries the Achille’s dead body,
a "choros" (a dance) of five women holding hands and wearing garments decorated by lozenges motives,
and four young naked men repeating the same movement.
These figurines were part of series, realized with molds and decorated in bright colors.
The comparison with the other specimens shows that the lower decoration was completed by a couple of sphinxes and that the hairdo was characterized by braids which went down to the chest.
The goddess has a particular attribute next the fingers of the right hand: “a small rod” which can be interpreted as a wooden tool for weaving, typical attribute of the goddess Athena worshipped as "Ergane", namely the craftsmen Patron.
Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
Corso di Archeologia della Magna Grecia
Prof.ssa Bianca Ferrara
Marialucia Giacco - Conservatore Sezione Magna Grecia MANN
Laura Forte - Responsabile Archivio Fotografico MANN
Giorgio Albano - MANN