Image Resources | Currently on View in Leah and Charles Redish Gallery
This votary, or dedicant, was originally part of a near life-sized statue. It dates from around the 6th century, based on the exaggerated facial features: large eyes, ovoid face, and stylized beard. Votary figures such as this one would have been consecrated at a temple site, serving the role of perpetual worshiper to that deity. The figure’s hat, similar to styles worn by Phoenicians and in the Near East, is a sign of foreign influence on Cyprus, which had a long history of foreign rule under the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and the Romans.
The hat and beard may mark the figure as a priest, who are commonly depicted in Cypriot temple statuary. Statues of priests and worshipers were most likely dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, who had a temple at Golgoi and whose mythological birthplace was on the island. The site was originally excavated by Luigi Palma di Cesnola, who went on to become the first director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bringing his collection of Cypriot antiquities with him. The objects in this case were once in the Metropolitan’s collections and sold in the 1920s as duplicates.