• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12239

    Antiquities

    6 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 37

    A CYCLADIC MARBLE FEMALE FIGURE

    EARLY SPEDOS VARIETY, CIRCA 2600-2500 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A CYCLADIC MARBLE FEMALE FIGURE
    EARLY SPEDOS VARIETY, CIRCA 2600-2500 B.C.
    With lyre-shaped head, tapering neck, and sloping shoulders, the arms crossed right below left beneath the breasts, with deep leg-cleft
    7 in. (17.7 cm.) high


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    It has been suggested that the grooves at the neck and upper right thigh of the present lot may be the result of deliberate damage in antiquity. Some Cycladic figures have been discovered in graves purposefully broken, at the neck and at the knees, with the three parts of the figure then carefully arranged. This sort of damage most likely had a ritual context, though its precise meaning is still unknown. Thimme has suggested that Cycladic female figures 'were conceived as images of divine beings and specifically intended for the grave: the female figures represent a divine mistress of life and death, who will secure for the deceased rebirth in another world' - it is not apparent what benefits would be reaped by deliberately damaging a figure imbued with such potent power (O. Höckmann, 'Cycladic Religion', in J. Thimme (ed.), Art and Culture of the Cyclades, Chicago, 1977, p. 42).

    Provenance

    with K. J. Hewett, London.
    Private collection, UK, acquired from the above in the 1960s.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A UK PRIVATE COLLECTION