Cruciform Figure, 3000-2500 BCE
Chalcolithic I
3 ¼ × 1 5/8 × 7/16 in. (8.3 × 4.1 × 1.1 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
1974-051 DJ

Photo: Paul Hester
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This schematic representation of a person with a particularly tall neck, trapezoidal head, and horizontally outstretched arms is known as a cruciform figure for the cross-like design of the body. It dates to the Chalcolithic (“Copper Age”) period on the island of Cyprus (ca. 3000–2500 BCE). The figurative representations produced on Cyprus during this period use a local stone known as picrolite (sometimes identified by scholars as steatite) that takes on various hues of green. The relatively soft stone was common in southwest Cyprus along the Troodos Mountains and associated riverbeds. This figure has a very light hue of green, while some other examples can have a deep olive tone. It shares stylistic features with some figurines that were likely produced around the village of Souskiou. The carving of the face can be read as a single face looking frontally or two profile faces joined together. These figures may have been worn on a cord or tucked into clothing as amulets.