Objects of Marble

Marble abounds in the Cyclades. Local sculptors exploited this natural bounty and used fine marble to produce figures and vessels that often accompanied the deceased in the grave. The value and durability of the material used for the objects—perhaps intended for the afterlife—was important.

The marble objects pictured here and others in the exhibition illustrate the artistic achievements of the anonymous Cycladic sculptors. In addition to basic copper tools, naturally occurring materials found locally were used for carving. They include obsidian (volcanic glass) blades for cutting into the stone or for hollowing out the interior of a vessel; and sand, emery, and pumice for grinding, smoothing, and polishing the surface. On the figures, pigments were applied to add anatomical or decorative details.

Female Figure of the Late Spedos Type
Cup Spool Pyxis with Lid