Open Context

Descriptive Variable Value(s)
Type Female and Other Types
Title Limestone Dancing Statuette
Excavation Unit 62
Stratigraphic Unit 6207
Context Found in a disturbed context, within a modern looter’s pit (EU 62/SU 6207).
Current Location Larnaka District Archaeological Museum, Cyprus
Material Limestone
Height (cm) 18.37
Width (cm) 11.56
Date 400 – 300 BCE
Thickness (cm) 4.03
Weight (kg) 0.5
Description Limestone female statuette from a circular dancing group, broken at both arms (originally attached to adjacent dancers) and at the bottom of the legs. Head broken, now joined. The figure wears a veil that extends from the top of the head, with drapery folds framing the face, and falls to the shoulders. The face is heavily worn, but a hollow for the proper right eye and a small nose are preserved; the proper left eye and upper left portion of the face are broken. The mouth is not carved but was perhaps originally painted. The body is summarily rendered as a plank, with a slight curve following the circular form of the dancing group. The folds of the himation are incised, rather than modeled, with diagonal curved lines extending from the proper right shoulder down to the proper left thigh. Curved, parallel lines are incised in the same direction on the back. The arms are large and stylized with no anatomical details; drapery is similarly indicated with simple incised vertical lines on both the front and back. The top of an armband rises to a point on the left side, but the right arm breaks before this point. The bottom surface of the armbands is straight but angled downward from the back toward the front. A chiton below the himation is indicated with vertical incisions on the front and back. The legs are not visible beneath the dress, but the lower torso tapers before slightly flaring at the attachment to the base (now broken). The limestone is somewhat porous and covered with accretions, with black discoloration in some spots. Black and pink discoloration on bottom of proper left side indicates burning. No paint preserved. Surface is heavily weathered.
Commentary AAP-AM-5126 can be reconstructed as part of a group of standing female dancers holding hands in a circle, attached to a circular disk base. Over 50 fragments of circular dancing groups have been found at the Malloura sanctuary, all with similar dress but with variations in size, style, and quality (e.g., Halbertsma and Pilides 2019: 112–13). Several fragments feature burning residue and it is possible some groups were used as thymiateria. The majority of the dancing group fragments has been found in the northwest area of the sanctuary near the threshold and entrance of the northern peribolos associated with the Hellenistic–Roman phase of the sanctuary. Although the majority were found in looters’ pits, several have been excavated from Hellenistic levels inside the northern peribolos next to the threshold. The concentration of this type in this area suggests that these statuettes were perhaps displayed or deposited nearby (assuming that the contents of the looters’ pits contain material from the general vicinity). This same area also yielded the largest number of Artemis statuette fragments (see AAP-AM-4929) as well as numerous fragments from so-called Cypriot Pan statuettes (types similar to those published in this volume, e.g., AAP-AM-624+697; AAP-AM-1076; AAP-AM-2740), some of which were neatly stacked next to the northern wall. Similar limestone dancing groups are also found at the nearby sanctuaries at Achna, Pyla, and Golgoi, all of which have associations with Apollo and Artemis. This type in limestone does not appear before the CC II; examples from Pyla and Achna are dated to the fourth century BCE. Circular dancing groups in terracotta appear throughout the island, particularly in the Hellenistic period, although there are differences in the costume and style (see examples at the MMA: Karageorghis et al. 2018: 71–72, 127–128, cat. nos. 118 and 219; see also Karageorghis 2002: 136–39, cat. nos. 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175). In limestone, the most detailed example is from Pyla, which depicts three veiled females on a disk base pierced with a small circular indent in the center (Hermary 1989a: 439, cat. no. 908, as well as 440, cat. no. 909). A single figure from Edmond Duthoit’s 1865 excavation at Golgoi is a less articulated version of this limestone type (Decaudin 1987: 180, cat. no. 5, pl. 69). The schematic carving style and slightly different dress of AAP-AM-5126 and other figures from Athienou-Malloura are similar to the figures from Achna (Vandervondelen 1994). A fifth-century BCE relief amphora from Idalion also depicts dancing women holding hands that wear the same garments as the Malloura figures (Dikaios 1936/37: 68, pl. 9b; Gjerstad 1935: pl. CLXV: 9). The limestone groups from Pyla and Achna consist of three to four figures per group. Another fragment of a ring dancing group from Malloura preserves enough of the circular base to suggest that six to eight statuettes were originally attached. The number of fragments from Athienou-Malloura outnumbers those from other sites, underscoring the importance of this type as a votive offering at the sanctuary. It seems likely that the Malloura dancing statuette groups, of which AAP-AM-5126 is a well-preserved fragment, reflect dancing rituals associated with Artemis (AAP-AM-4929) and were likely produced in the fourth century BCE.
Bibliography Unpublished
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Editorial Note

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Suggested Citation

Erin Averett, Derek Counts, Kevin Garstki. "AAP-AM-5126 from Cyprus/Athienou-Malloura". (2020) In Visualizing Votive Practice: Exploring Limestone and Terracotta Sculpture from Athienou-Malloura through 3D Models. Derek B. Counts, Erin Walcek Averett, Kevin Garstki, Michael Toumazou (Eds.) . Released: 2020-07-28. Open Context. <> ARK (Archive):

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