Cycladic Harpist

  • This beautifully crafted resin statue is a replica of a Cycladic sculpture in the museum's collection.

    As one of only ten known Cycladic Harpists in the world, this figure is unique in the Museum’s antiquities collection. The vast majority of Cycladic sculptures represent standing or reclining female figures; just five percent of the figures depict males. Like most ancient statuary, Cycladic sculptures were painted with a variety of pigments­—a fact that created a much different visual impact in ancient times.

    Careful examination of very small traces of the paint that once enlivened the Harpist has shown the original sculpture had painted eyes and hair. The musician holds an instrument (called a frame harp) that originated in the Near East and is an ancestor of the modern harp. At its top is an extension in the form of a swan’s head, a common feature of ancient stringed instruments. The swan’s elongated neck facilitated the projection of sound from the harp. Musicians were important figures in the preliterate society of the Cyclades, since they not only provided entertainment but also transmitted common history, mythology, and folklore through their stories and songs.

    - Made of resin
    - Measures 11.75" H 3" W x 7" L
    - Item #: HARPS2