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One of the very rare male Cycladic figurines, this piece, along with the Cycladic flute-player, are the first depictions of musicians in the Greek world. It was found in a tomb on 1884 on Keros, a deserted island opposite Amorgos. A seated man is shown playing the harp: perhaps he was some official bard or hero, as he appears to be sitting on an elaborate throne. His head, tilted up and back above the strong neck, indicates his absorption in the music. The artistic achievement is astonishing: not only the perfect carving, but the way the figure is rendered in all dimensions and dominates the space. We do not know the purpose if this figurine - perhaps to entertain the deceased, or to comfort him in the other world. The original, dating to the third millennium BC, is now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Cycladic Keros harpist figurine

SKU: KC-06
  • dimensions

    Height including base: 23cm Width: 17cm
  • more about the Keros pieces

    The so-called Keros Hoard, excavated on the island of Keros, consisted of at least 350 figurines dating to ca 2800-2300 BC. These originals were taken out of Greece in the 1950s and distributed to various museums and private collections. The fate of many of them is unknown. 81 of the pieces were repatriated and are now on display in the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.

    Original Cycladic figurines, carved in marble, were produced during the third millennium BC. They are remarkable for their abstract simplicity, which inspired Picasso, Modigliani, and Moore.

    Cycladic art originates from a group of islands in the southwestern Aegean, comprising some thirty small islands, including Naxos and Paros, which were known for the quality of their marble. The ancient Greeks called these islands the Kyklades, imagining them as falling within a circle (kyklos) around the sacred island of Delos, the site of the holiest sanctuary to Apollo and the island thought to be the birthplace of the god and his twin sister Artemis.

  • about the material

    Made in Greece. The material is keramin, a durable plaster polymer compound with a light ochre finish applied by hand. There may, therefore, be a slight variation in colour from piece to piece. The piece is mounted on a polished stone composite base.

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