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Case 1: The Greek Bronze Age 3200-1100 BC

The Cyclades 3200–2000 BC

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A Cycladic figurine

Here the sculptor has elegantly reduced the human form to a few key components: head, neck, arms, legs, torso. The position of the feet suggests the figure was designed to lie down rather than stand upright, as displayed today. What were such figurines for? Most of them are female, suggesting a connection with fertility. Many, but not all of them, are found in graves. Like later marble sculpture, some preserve faint traces of the bright colours with which they were originally painted.

Production place: the Cyclades, probably Melos
Date: around  2700–2400 BC
Find spot: Melos
Given by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Object Number: GR.17.1924

see the online collections database

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Marble vase (kandila)

Several hundred vases of this design have been found in the Cyclades: the central section of the vase resembles a sea-urchin. The craftsmen who made these vases probably used tools of stone, wood or bone to rub and grind the marble until they had achieved a perfect shape. This type of vase is often known as a kandila, the modern Greek word for ‘lamp’, because its shape is thought to resemble that of the sanctuary lamps traditionally found in Greek churches.

Production place: the Cyclades
Date: around  3200–2800 BC
Find spot: Amorgos
Given by Bosanquet, R.C.

Object Number: GR.38.1901

see the online collections database

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