Figure, Dokathismata type, 2700-2300 BCE
Early Cycladic II, Keros-Syros
Greece, Cyclades Islands
14 ½ × 4 7/16 × 1 ¼ in. (36.8 × 11.3 × 3.2 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
CA 63026

Photo: Hickey-Robertson, Houston
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Belonging to the Early Cycladic II (Keros-Syros culture, 2700-2300 BCE), this full-length female figure with folded arms belongs to the Dokathismata variety. The majority of the Early Cycladic figures represent female bodies, identified by the emphasized breasts, swollen belly, and incised pubic triangle. The hallmark features of the Dokathismata type include the triangular shaped head; long neck; broad, angular shoulders; straight legs with shallow groove separating them; incised lines indicating toes; and overall thinness of the figure. The work is attributed to an unnamed artist known as the Ashmolean Master or Sculptor (named after the largest attributed work in the Ashmolean Museum), who followed a four-part canon that divides the body into specific proportions, most likely using a compass.  

Appearing on the art market in 1963, the figure is said to be from Naxos, but does not have an archaeological context. Figures from excavated contexts typically are found in burials, sometimes with other marble objects. Since the Early Cycladic cultures did not have a written language, little is known about the sculptures’ function. Some examples have evidence of pigment that was added to decorate their surfaces, which may indicate a ritual function.