Bronze Age Cycladic sculpture encompasses some of the most iconic sculptural types to have survived from antiquity. It is not clear what the original function of these stylized figures was, but it is probable that they had a votive as well as a ritualistic role. Often found in burial contexts, they may have played a part in accompanying the deceased on their journey from one world to the next. The care taken during the manufacturing of these pieces, especially given the primitive tools and hardness of material, show that they were highly valued and cherished. The folded-arm female type, such as the present lot, would have had additional features added in bright pigments of black, red and blue. The simplicity and abstraction of their schematic form still attracts us almost 5000 years after they were first produced, inspiring many contemporary artists including Brancusi, Picasso, Moore, Hepworth and Epstein.
For a similar torso with head, cf. J. Thimme, Art and Culture of the Cyclades, Chicago and London, 1977, p. 264, no. 156.