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Descriptive Attribute Value(s)
Type Masks
Title Female Mask
Excavation Unit 58
Stratigraphic Unit 5806
Context Found among a scatter of limestone cobbles, resting above the surface of an elevated platform (?) in the northwestern part of the excavated sanctuary (EU 58/SU 5806).
Current Location Larnaka District Archaeological Museum, Cyprus
Material Terracotta
Height (cm) 18.49
Width (cm) 9.52
Date 625 – 575 BCE
Thickness (cm) 7.7
Weight (kg) 0.268
Description Moldmade female mask, slightly under-life-size, partially broken at the neck and proper right side. This mask was excavated in five pieces, now joined. The face is long and oval, naturalistically rendered with softly rounded cheeks and a pronounced, slightly jutting chin. The cutout eyes are large and almond-shaped, slightly downturned at the outer edges. The large, arched eyebrows are incised with a symmetrical herringbone “feathered” design. The nose is large and prominent with shallow depressions for the nostrils; a linear depression with a fingerprint is preserved on the left side of the nose (not visible in the 3D model). The lips are small, but full, with an Archaic smile. The left side of the bottom of the face and the area below the chin preserve some fingerprints (not visible on the 3D model). The left ear of the mask is realistically rendered, but large in proportion to other features. The hair covers part of the forehead in a fringe and extends down to the shoulder on the preserved side. The hair is divided into vertical parallel sections by grooves that terminate in rounded curls. Some of the locks are patterned with incised zigzagging triangles, while other locks are left plain. Traces of red pigment survive above the proper left eye, on the left side of the forehead, on the bottom of the left ear, on the nose, around the lips, between the nose and lips, and on the left side of the neck. Black pigment is preserved on the hair and eyebrows. Several toolmarks are visible on the interior of the mask as well as depressions from where the clay was pressed into the mold (especially in the area around the face). At the top of the inside, there is a lump with a preserved hole. The fabric is pale pinkish orange on the exterior (7.5YR 7/3) and reddish orange on the interior (5YR 6/6); it is slightly coarse with many small dark red and purple inclusions. Calcareous encrustations throughout.
Commentary Terracotta female masks were dedicated in sanctuaries and placed in tombs in the CA and early CC periods and are part of a tradition of dedicating copies of actual (anthropomorphic and zoomorphic) masks worn in ritual performances (Averett 2015, 2018; Karageorghis 1971). There are, however, far fewer clearly identifiable female votive masks in comparison with male or bovine examples. The style of the facial features, in particular the hair, eyes, eyebrows, and smile of AAP-AM-5115, suggests a date at the end of the CA I period. Similar features are found on moldmade heads from large terracotta sculpture—for example, the incised, feathered eyebrows, eyes, noses, and faintly smiling mouths of female heads from Idalion (Karageorghis 1993: 68–69, cat. nos. 235, 236, pl. XLVII: 3) or the hair and eyebrows from a head from Patriki (Karageorghis 1993: 49, cat. no. 142, pl. XXXIII: 1). Facial features similar to the cutout, almond-shaped eyes and faintly smiling lips are also found on a mask allegedly from Vasilika near Idalion, a young male mask from Idalion (or Tamassos), and another female mask of uncertain provenance said to come from a tomb at Idalion (Karageorghis 1993: 113–14, cat. nos. 22, 23, 24 pls. LXVI: 5–6, LXVII: 1). The fringe hair on the forehead is especially similar to the male mask from Idalion (Karageorghis 1993: 113, cat. no. 22). AAP-AM-5115 exhibits unique downturned eyes, but is otherwise executed in a style most like the Idalion coroplastic tradition (for regional styles, see Fourrier 2007: 39–52) and likely dates to the end of the CA I. This stylistic date for AAP-AM-5115 makes its findspot all the more significant. The mask, together with several other CA offerings (in particular it was found right above the warrior figurine AAP-AM-5151), was found associated with a stone construction (perhaps a platform) built during the Hellenistic phase of the sanctuary in a layer that contained purely Hellenistic ceramics. This further corroborates evidence that earlier votives remained on display or in storage in the newly reorganized sanctuary (ca. 400 BCE) (see also AAP-AM-96; AAP-AM-1108).
Bibliography Averett 2018: 308, no. 11, fig. 5
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Suggested Citation

Derek Counts, Erin Averett, Kevin Garstki. (2020) "AAP-AM-5115 from Europe/Cyprus/Athienou-Malloura". 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 (Ed). Released: 2020-07-28. Open Context. <> ARK (Archive):

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