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Woman Holding a Tambourine




Cypro-Archaic or Cypro-Classical Period (750-300 B.C.E.)


Woman Holding a Tambourine


6th-5th c. B.C.E.


Limestone, pigments


42.9 x 12.3 x 6.5 cm


Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2006.53


Archeology and World Cultures

This small statuette is so well preserved that a lot of its original polychrome decoration survives, and the surface modelling remains very clear. It is a particularly beautiful example of Cypriot art, showing simple indication of the folds of the woman’s garment, the stylized hair and head-covering and, especially, the “archaic smile” created by a not quite natural rendition of the junction at the ends of the lips. The position of the feet and the angle of the base show that the statuette was intended to lean backwards against a wall, perhaps in a niche. In Cyprus, musician figurines mostly comprise male flute or double-flute players and women playing either the lyre or, as here, the tambourine, or tympanon. They have been found in sanctuaries, and are thus considered to be votive objects. Perhaps they represent musicians performing in honour of the gods.

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