Cycladic Bust Woman
A "folded-arm type" byst of the Early Cycladic II period, depicting a woman with her arms folded across her stomach.
Hand-Made Bronze Sculpture with Quality Guarantee. Traditionally made with the method of casting bronze and with a museum-like oxidization.
The meaning and function of Cycladic figurines is kind of an enigma. In the absence of written records, any interpretation has to be based exclusively upon archaeological finds and reasonable assumptions. Unfortunately, archaeological data is also insufficient due to the extensive looting of the Cycladic islands in the 1950s and 1960s, itself the result of the excessive value marble figurines acquired in the international art markets in that period. It has been estimated that out of approximately 1400 known figurines, only 40% has been recovered through systematic excavation.
Even with such fragmentary data, however, it is clear that – leaving aside the unique case of Keros – the majority of Cycladic figurines come from graves. This has led many scholars to associate them with funerary rituals, although the theories proposed vary considerably.
The numerous standing female figurines have been variously interpreted as representations of the deceased, substitute concubines, servants, ancestors or even substitutes for human sacrifices. Other scholars focus on the transcendental character of the statuettes and the overwhelming bias of Cycladic art towards female representations and attempt to explain them as symbols of a mother-goddess, associated with fertility and rebirth, conductors of souls, apotropaic images, divine nurses or even worshipers; some of those sharing this view suggest that the primary use of the figurines may have been in shrines rather than graves (although evidence for specialized cult areas in the Early Bronze Age Cyclades is extremely limited). Approaches that negate the religious character of the figurines are also available, focusing on social dimensions (e.g. representations of females in the age of marriage) or trying to offer practical, though rather unlikely, explanations (figurines as toys).
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