The island of Cyprus has no naturally occurring source of marble or similar hard stone and so, in antiquity, sculpture was mostly confined to terracotta and locally quarried limestone, found in the central and south-eastern areas of the island. By the early 6th century B.C. Cypriot sculpture had reached its zenith, with local artisans having developed a high level of sculptural style incorporating elements from their Egyptian, Phoenician and Greek contemporaries. In particular, the Egyptian preoccupation with mathematically-calculated proportions was admired and emulated (I. Jenkins, Defining Beauty, the Body in Ancient Greek Art, London, 2015, p. 111).
Bearded male heads wearing conical helmets are found from the late 7th century B.C. onwards. It is likely that such heads, with their distinctive facial features, including prominent nose, pointed lips, and large almond-shaped eyes, depicted priests or dignitaries and were erected as votaries. For a similar head wearing a conical helmet cf. V. Karageorghis, Ancient Art from Cyprus, The Cesnola Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000, p. 108, no. 171; see nos 172-173 for comparable full statues, all said to be from near the temple at Golgoi.
The de Clercq collection, formed in the late 19th century and inspired by travel to the Middle East and Mediterranean, is notable as much for its discerning quality as its rich breadth. Published in seven volumes from 1885-1911, subjects as diverse as ancient Assyria, jewellery, marbles, and Cypriot art were represented. Many notable pieces from the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the Musée du Louvre were gifted from this collection in the 1970s.