Pottery and artefacts

(Early 400BCE)
Fragment of a marble statue (Early 400 BCE)

The pictures in this Gallery were taken in Athens, at the Museum of Cycladic Art. The Museum specializes in the Cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus. For a better understanding, the different periods are listed underneath. You may find the information at the Museum internet site.

Cycladic Period 3200–2000BCE

Early Bronze Age 2500–1900 BCE

Early Cypriot Ι   2500–2075 BCE

Early Cypriot ΙΙ   2075–2000 BCE

Early Cypriot ΙΙΙ   2000–1900 BCE

Middle Bronze Age 1900–1650 BCE

Middle Cypriot Ι   1900–1800 BCE

Middle Cypriot ΙI   1800–1725 BCE

Middle Cypriot ΙII   1725–1650 BCE

Late Bronze Age 1650–1050 BCE

Late Cypriot Ι   1650–1450 BCE

Late Cypriot ΙI   1450–1200 BCE

Late Cypriot ΙII   1200–1050 BCE


Geometric period 1050–750 BCE

Cypro-Geometric Ι   1050–950 BCE

Cypro-Geometric ΙI   950–900 BCE

Cypro-Geometric ΙII   900–750 BCE

Archaic period 750–480 BCE

Cypro-Archaic Ι    750–600 BCE

Cypro-Archaic ΙI    600–480 BCE

Classical period 480–325 BCE

Cypro-Classical Ι    480–400 BCE

Cypro-Classical ΙΙ   400–325 BCE

The term Cycladic comes from the name of the Cycladic Islands, a group of islands in the Aegean sea. Pottery was widely used to store and to transport food, drinks, oil, perfume. Cyprus, an island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean,  was a place where Mycenaean people took refuge in the Late Bronze Age, and they brought with them their skills. We may not have many writings from the Bronze Age, but we have pottery and statues.

Female figurine of the canonical type, Kapsala variety, marble Cycladic (2800_2300 BCE)
Female figurine of the canonical type, Kapsala variety, marble Cycladic (2800–2300 BCE)

Cycladic art attained maturity during the Early Cycladic II period, with the creation of the distinctive figurine type that was to hold sway for the next five hundred years. This type has been called “canonical” because it displays constant morphological canons and artistic conventions, such as the folded arms above the abdomen (with left over right), slightly flexed knees, backward tilt of the head and slanting feet.

Researchers have distinguished five different varieties of the canonical type. The “Kapsala variety”, named after the Early Cycladic cemetery on Amorgos where it was first identified, is the earliest and is dated to the early phase of the Early Cycladic II period. Figurines of this variety are small (h. 13–37 cm.) and distinguished by plasticity in the treatment of the body, ovoid head, curvaceous profiles and almost complete absence of incised details. Nonetheless, the presence of certain traits reminiscent of figures of the later “Spedos variety” (lyre-shaped head, acutely slanting feet) places this particular example in a transitional phase between the two varieties.

Description from the Museum

At the Museum, you also have statues from later periods.

Female figurine of a priestess (?) clay, Cypriot, Cypro-Archaic II period (600–480 BCE)

Figurine of a standing female in characteristic pose with the hands supporting the breasts. She wears lavish garments and copious jewellery. The figurine has been modelled in a double mould and is hollow. Details are picked out in red and black paint, easy to flake-off. Figurines of females holding their breasts are known from various sites on Cyprus (Amathous, Idalion, Tamassos etc.). This particular type is especially common at Achna, in the Larnaca region, where there is an Archaic sanctuary of the Great Goddess. Most researchers interpret the figurines as representing priestesses. Others, however, believe that they refer to the cult statue of the deity or that they are images of worshippers who deposited them in sanctuaries as a token of eternal faith.

Description from the Museum

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Hélène Emeriaud is a retired teacher. She holds a BA in Education from Montreal University, and a Master of Education from McGill University. A Community TA for HeroesX in v3, v4, and v5, she enjoys being a participant in Hour 25.

Photo credits: James Hunt