Twice rescued

Фотография до реставрации Фотография после реставрации

Head of a bearded god

  • Cyprus, 500-490 BC.
  • Inv. Ask 351
  • Limestone
  • H. 31,0 cm.
  • Conservator: V. Cheremkhin, 2004

On the island of Cyprus, which was at the crossroads between the ancient East and the ancient West, the last and most significant period of artistic prosperity was the Archaic (mid 8th- early 5th century BC). There, much earlier than in Greece, appeared monumental sculptures of clay and limestone (in Greece, mainly marble), they filled temenoses - open-air shrines of gods. This is evidenced by the shrine in Aya Irini in north-west Cyprus, where a Swedish expedition in the late 1920s - early 1930s found more than two thousand figures.

Nude statues of men were not common in Cyprus. They were depicted in tight robes, standing upright, flat in profile, looking directly at the viewer, with some attributes in their hands - a palm branch, a sacrificial animal, a vessel. These statues are called "adorants" - admirers of god, bringing him gifts. They are almost indistinguishable from the statues of gods, to one of which this head may have belonged. It has a generalized shape, an archaic graceful hairstyle and a beard. But at the same time, the statue possesses integrity, spirituality and special energy, which are related to the Greek statues of heroes and gods of the early 5th century BC. This is probably one of the last high achievements of the Cyprus sculptors, who at that time had already lost their independence and were increasingly imitating Hellenic models.

Conservation

The head came almost in one piece, only the lower part of the beard was lost. The big problem was cleaning the monument off the dense crust and soil deposits.