National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Athens, 10 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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On the morning before our flight out to Thira, we visited the Archaeological museum, near where we were staying.  Unfortunately, we missed the mezzanine floor with items from Crete, and by the time we realised this it was too late to turn back.  Still, there was a lot to see.  They are in the order we walked around the museum, which was roughly chronological for the exhibits.  Descriptions are from the labels with the items.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel

Gold diadem with repoussé circles and rosettes, grave items, 17th to 16th centuries BC, Mycenae.

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Elephant or hippopotamus ivory warriors’ head wearing boar’s tusk helmet.  From a Mycenaean Chamber Tomb from the palace period of the 14th and 13th centuries BC.

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Necklaces made of carnelian beads, Mycenae Chamber tombs, 15th-12th centuries BC.

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Three-handled Palace Style amphora with three large octopuses within a marinescape of rocks and seaweed. A Mycenaean imitation of the Minoan Marine Style.  15th century BC.

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Gold signet ring, the largest extant Mycenaean ring.  It depicts a procession of lion-headed daemons holding libation jugs and moving towards an enthroned goddess.  The goddess wears a long chiton and raises a ritual vessel.  Behind the throne is an eagle-symbo! of dominion. The sun’s heel and crescent moon appear in the sky. 15th century BC.

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The ‘Mycenaean Lady’. The serious and pensive expression of the goddess reveals the solemnity of the moment, as she accepts, slightly smiling, the gift, a necklace, which she holds tightly in her right hand.  She wears a short-sleeved bodice over a sheer blouse, which delineates her ample bosom. Her intricate hairstyle and rich jewellery (necklaces and bracelets) are striking.  Wall-painting from the Acropolis of Mycenae, 13th century BC.

The art of wail-painting first appeared in the Aegean in Minoan Crete and was closely associated with palatial architecture. Indeed, monumental painting was an official art, undertaken by artists who worked for the king. The iconography is inspired from the natural world or exhibits religious ceremonies from the royal court. The art of wall-painting spread to mainland Greece with the construction of the palaces at Myconae, Tiryns, Thebes and Pylos, after the Mycenaeans established themselves at the palace of Knossos in Crete, at the end of the 15th century BC. The Mycenaean artist used natural earth colours, made mainly of metal oxides, which he applied onto a wet plaster surface.

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Fragment of a wall-painting depicting three women looking out of the windows of a festooned house. The scene’s festive character and women’s gestures of veneration and surprise indicate that they are watching a religious spectacle.  From the ‘Ramp House’, Mycenae acropolis. 14th century BC.

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Gold signet rings depicting religious scenes: ecstatic dances in open air sanctuaries, processions of women approaching sanctuaries, preparations for animal sacrifices and ‘sacred conversation’.  Mycenae Chamber tombs, 15th-14th centuries BC.  (Also next two images).

. Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel .

. Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel .

. Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel

In a landscape of olive trees, a bull is captured by peaceful means: a man ties a thick rope around the bull’s leg, while the beast flirts with a cow. (Though just the flirting shown in this image.)

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Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel

In a landscape of olive and palm trees, a raging bull attacks and repels two hunters (and on the other side of the object, another bull  is caught in a net).

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Bronze statue of a horse and young jockey.  Retrieved in pieces from the shipwreck off Cape Artemision in Euboea. The young jockey of the galloping horse will have held the reins in his left hand and a whip in his right. The contractions and furrows on his face, especially on the forehead, reveal agony and passion. The work is known as the “Artemision Jockey”. About 140 BC.

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Female funerary statue. Marble.  Found on Delos. The female figure is rendered in the type of the Small Herculaneum Woman. She wears a full-length chiton and a himation that covers her entire body and arms.  Copy made in the 2nd c. BC of a famous original dating from about 300 BC.

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Votive relief. Marble.  Found to the south of the river Ilissos, Athens.  The relief has the form of a naiskos with pilasters, an epistyle and a cornice. Herakles is depicted at the right holding the lion’s pelt and club.  In the centre of the scene, a bull is led to sacrifice by a servant. At the left is depicted a family of worshipers with their maidservant, who carries a basket covered with a cloth on her head. The votive inscription on the epistyle mentions: Panis Aigirios to Herakles. The relief probably comes from the sanctuary of Herakles at Kynosarges.  4th c. BC.

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Votive relief and base. Marble.  Found in the cave of the Nymphs on Mount Penteli, Attica. The relief, in the form of a cave, is set on a tall, rectangular base, on which is carved an inscription stating that the relief was dedicated to the Nymphs by Agathemeros. The dedicator is depicted at the right holding in his right hand a kantharos, which a nude wine-server is filling. In front of them, seated on a rock, the goat-footed god Pan holds the pan-pipe.  Next to him is Hermes, holding the caduceus and wearing a chlamys.
Three Nymphs are depicted behind him.  About 330 BC.

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Part of a marble disk with female head in relief.  The goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, is perhaps depicted. Her rich hair is gathered in a sakkos (snood), which curves over the nape of the lean neck. An additional curl would be attached to the temple. The face emits grace and balanced beauty.  From Melos. Around 460-450 BC.

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Golden bracelets.  Two realistically shown snakes, with red precious stones, were wrapped around the arms of a priestess, protecting her from all evil.  The bracelet in the form of a coiled snake was the paramount type than predominated in the Hellenistic period.  Unknown provenance (from the so-called Karpenissi Treasure). Late 3rd – early 2nd century BC.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel

Gold chain-net head jewel.  A fine chain net, adorned with red gems and blue enamel.  The goddess Artemis, wearing her arrow case on her right shoulder, is shown on the medallion.  It was perhaps made to fasten the gathered up hair of a priestess.  Unknown provenance (from the so-called Karpenissi Treasure). 4th – early 3rd century BC.

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Hexagonal wooden pyxis.  Wooden box, decorated with rectangular gold plates, ornamented in the repousse technique.  Three decorative themes are repeated on the side panels of the pyxis:  a lion chase of a deer and a roe in a tropical landscape, and a running spiral pattern.  From Mycenaean Grave Circle A, Shaft Grave V.  Second half of 16th century BC.

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Grave stele of an athlete.  The athlete is depicted naked, holding a javelin in the left hand.  The treatment of the musculature in the torso and hands follows the archaic conventions but it is marked by plastic contours and soft transitions. The elaborate headdress is tied with a ribbon and combed in twisted braids and tresses with spiral and helicoid terminals.  Red paint is preserved in the background of the relief and on the hair.  From Athens. 550-540 BC.

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From Delos (“Palaestra of Granite”).  A distinctively realistic face of an anonymous figure carrying the burden of ephemeral thoughts and evryday concerns. Wrinkles on the forehead, at the edges of the eyes, melancholic expression of a wet look, made more lively by the colour variegation of the eyes, are characteristics that contrast the idealism of the classic rule.  Early 1st c. BC.

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Bronze helmet of illyrian type and gold funerary mask.  From Chalcidice. 530-510 B.C

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Goddess on a throne. Attic workshop. Terracotta.  End of 6th/beginning of 5th century BC.

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Statue of the princess-priestess Takushit.  Found on Kom Tourougka, near Lake Mareotis, south of Alexandria, in 1880. The woman’s name means ‘the Ethiopian’ and may refer to her relation or marriage to an Ethiopian. Her father was Akanosh Il, great chief of the Ma tribe from Libya.   The figure’s characteristic garment is executed with inlaid decoration, a technique in which the engraved design is inlaid with precious metal wire. The motifs are hieroglyphs and deities of the northeast region of the Nile Delta, Takushit’s homeland.  The statue had a ritual, votive, and funerary use.  Copper alloy with precious metal inlay.  End of 25th Dynasty, approximately 670 BC.

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Copper alloy statuette of the god Sarapis Amun Agathodaemon.  One of the rare preserved statues of this deity.

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Copper alloy statue of Isis with Horus the child.

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Copper alloy sarcophagus for a cat.

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Helmet of Corinthian type. A fragmentary inscription on the right cheekpiece indicates that it was dedicated by the Athenians. Late 6th-early 5th century BC.

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Grave stele. Thespian marble. Found in the outskirts of Thebes.  Two figures, a bearded man with a staff on the right and a spinning (?) woman on the left, sit facing each other. Three more figures, two men and a woman, stand in the background. A very small female attendant is represented at far left.  Characteristic attributes are the pomegranate and torch (?) held by the standing bearded man in his left hand, as well as the aryballos in the right hand of the beardless youth. The solemnity of the relief, which is emphasized by the rhythmic arrangement of the magnificent figures in two levels, points to the heroization of the dead —a fact that accords with the Boeotian origin of the stele.  End of the fifth century BC.

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Grave stele. Marble.  Found northeast of Athens, in Chalandri (ancient Phlya).  A bearded man supported on a staff offers a bird to a young boy standing before him. Both figures are draped. The inscription identifies them as Philokles and his son Dikaios, and also records their patronymics.  ca. 410 BC.

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Head of a bearded god. Pentelic marble.  Found in Piraeus, in a sanctuary of Eetioneia. It represents Zeus or Hermes.  This may be the head of the herm dedicated by Python from Abdera in Thrace, a work of the Parian sculptor Euphron.  450 – 440 BC.

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Votive relief. Pentelic marble. Found in Sounion, near the Temple of Athena. It represents a self-crowning athlete and was probably dedicated by a victor in local games.  His wreath was made of metal and fitted to the drilled holes that are visible around the head. ca. 460 BC.

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Statue of a Sphinx. Pentelic marble. Found in Spata, Attica.  One of the earliest known Archaic Sphinxes, it was once used as finial of a grave stele.  About 570 B.C.

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Statue of a kore. Parian marble.  Found in Merenda (ancient Myrrhinous), Attica. The fully
preserved statue stood atop the grave of Phrasikleia, as is indicated by the inscription on the pedestal. The expression of the face and the rendering of garment that follows the curves of the body underneath are remarkable.  The chiton retains in many places its painted decoration with rosettes, swastikas, stars and meanders. An extraordinary work, one of the most important of the ripe Archaic style. Made by the sculptor Aristion from Paros. 550-540 B.C.

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Monumental Attic grave-amphora.  From the Kerameikos cemetery. The main scene, shows the prothesis and mourning for the dead. Over the bier is the shroud.  Men, women and a child lament with the hands on their heads, in the usual mourning gesture.  Work by the «Dipylon Painter». Late Geometric Period. 760-750 BC.

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6 comments on “National Archaeological Museum, Athens

  1. leggypeggy says:

    I especially like the signet rings, even though I rarely wear rings

    Liked by 1 person

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