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Descriptive Attribute Value(s)
Type Divine Images: Cypriot Herakles
Title Under Life-Size Head of Cypriot-Herakles
Excavation Unit 10
Stratigraphic Unit 1099.158
Context Found in the construction fill of the hard-packed floor layer associated with the Hellenistic-Roman phase of the sanctuary (EU 10/SU 1099.158).
Current Location Larnaka District Archaeological Museum, Cyprus
Material Limestone
Height (cm) 13.29
Width (cm) 9.72
Date 600 – 575 BCE
Thickness (cm) 10.8
Weight (kg) 1.327
Description Under-life-size head of Cypriot Herakles broken at the neck. The face is almost triangular, tapering to a pointed chin, which is then squared to form the lower jaw. The cheeks, which are fleshy and rounded, transition abruptly to the flat, frontal plane of the face. The flat forehead yields to a sharply delineated brow. The prominent eyes, with high-relief lids and full pupils, are set horizontally. The upper and lower lids slant sharply inward (although not uniformly) to meet at either side, most significantly toward the nose. The badly damaged nose is broad; the lips are pursed and prominent. The flat, frontal plane of the face and surface immediately around the nose and mouth accentuate these features. A general asymmetry characterizes the features of the face; the proper right side visibly “sags” below the left (seen most clearly in the eyes and mouth). The head is enveloped in a lionskin headdress, which unevenly frames the face. The jaws of the lion are closed and extend across the forehead; there are eleven teeth (roughly, 6–8 cm2) across the top, while one tooth and one fang (ca. 12 cm) are visible along the bottom right portion of the jaw and three teeth and one fang (ca. 11 cm) are visible along the left. The smooth mane extends across the top of the figure’s head and drops vertically to the shoulders. The lion’s almond-shaped eyes and heavily defined lids recall those of the figure. The ears are rendered with vertical incisions and sit close to one another at the center of the head (ca. 20 cm apart). The nose is flat and rectangular and widens as it extends from the lion’s brow. The back of the head is rounded. There is no evidence of pigment; faint black splotches of natural discoloration passim.
Commentary Absent evidence for a club, the head belongs to a type featuring the god as an archer, as seen on several statues in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Counts 2014; Hermary and Mertens 2015: 226–30, cat. nos. 300, 301, 302, 303 [cat. no. 303 is strikingly similar]; Sophocleous 1985: 29–33). Nevertheless, the articulation of the lion’s jaw on AAP-AM-851— the lion’s lower jaw is joined to the upper jaw crowning the forehead—has no clear parallels. Usually the upper and lower jaw are split, with the lower jaw wrapped around the ears to frame the face. An example from Idalion (Senff 1993: 63–64, pl. 46e–g [BM C206, second from the left]) is close; the headdress falls vertically down the side of the head and obscures the ears, although here (as in all other examples) the jaw is split. The facial features of AAP-AM-851, including the eyes and lips, recall heads characteristic of the first quarter of the sixth century BCE. A head from Golgoi-Ayios Photios, dated by Antoine Hermary (1989a: 26, cat. no. 6) to the end of the seventh or early sixth century BCE, offers similar proportions of the facial features, such as the large, open eyes and short, simple mouth. A more significant comparison between the two faces is the articulation of the upper eyelid as it slants downward to meet the lower lid in the region of the inner canthus. Later examples from Idalion (Senff 1993: 46–47, pl. 31d–f [BM C4]) and Arsos (Gjerstad 1937: pl. clxxxix, 1) provide further comparanda for this trait. Another head found at the so-called sanctuary of Aphrodite at Arsos (Gjerstad 1937: pl. clxxxix, 2–3), in the region of Athienou, was possibly sculpted by the same hand that produced AAP-AM-851. Both heads display soft, rounded surfaces, yet transition sharply to the flat, frontal facial plane that accentuates the nose and mouth. Moreover, both heads have large, wide-open eyes, which are prolonged at the outer edges and break the frontal plane of the face extending back along the sides; on each there is a sharp transition from the brows to the eye sockets. These similarities are fully realized in the almost identical asymmetrical expression displayed on each head. The Arsos head should be dated to the early part of the sixth century BCE (Schmidt 1968: 93–98). If the Malloura head also dates to the early sixth century BCE (ca. 600–575 BCE), it would situate this piece among the earliest representations of the Cypriot Herakles archer type in Cyprus.
Bibliography Counts 1998: 171-72, cat. no. 33; Counts et al. 2016: 214, fig. 6; Toumazou et al. 1996: fig. 3.; Counts 2004: 181; Garstki 2017: fig. 3.; Garstki forthcoming: fig. 1
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Suggested Citation

Derek Counts, Erin Averett, Kevin Garstki. (2020) "AAP-AM-851 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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