Image Resources | Currently on View in Leah and Charles Redish Gallery
Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of grain and fertility, and Zeus, the king of the gods. In this statuette, Persephone wears a long peplos and would have been carrying grain or a piglet.
Hades fell in love with Persephone, and abducted her while she was picking flowers in Enna, on the island of Sicily. Demeter, heartbroken at the loss of her daughter, implored Zeus to help her. Zeus convinced Hades to let Persephone return to earth. However, a soul that ingested food in Hades was never permitted to return to the world of the living. Persephone had eaten six seeds of a pomegranate, so she was able to go above ground for only six months of the year. Demeter's sadness at Persephone's absence was believed to be the cause of the winter and fall seasons, and spring marks her return.