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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Greek Marble Statue of a Kore

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LOT 0065

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 7,180 - 9,580
USD ($) 7,780 - 10,380

£5,400 (EUR 6,464; USD 7,006) (+bp*)

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Greek Marble Statue of a Kore

Ionian, 7th-5th century BC

A marble statue of a kore, simply carved, arms to the side and wearing a long, sheath-like garment peplos belted at the waist. 83 kg, 80cm (32"). Fair condition. Extremely rare.

Property of a English gentleman; formerly the property of a Munich collector; previously acquired in the 1980s.
Karasaki, K: Archaic Korai, J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003; Steiber, M: The Poetics of Appearance in the Archaic Korai, U.T. Austin Press, 2010.
The classical Greek word ‘kore’ (pl.’korai’), meaning ‘girl’ or ‘young woman’ is the term applied to a category of free-standing anthropomorphic statues from the archaic Greek world. The korai are the feminine counterpart of the kouroi sculptures, depicting young men. Whereas the kouroi were typically represented in a state of athletic, heroic nudity, the korai are invariably clothed, as in this example. The faces, where extant, often display the enigmatic ‘archaic smile’. The clothing of the korai changed along with contemporary fashion. Earlier examples, such as the present lot, wore the more austere peplos (sleeveless belted dress), whilst more elaborate, later korai, such as the ‘Antenor’ kore of c.520 B.C., found on the Athenian Acropolis and now held in the Acropolis Museum (inv. no. 681) often wore the more elaborately draped chiton (long-sleeved, draped gown) and himation (shawl). Unlike some notable early examples, this lot is static in pose, rather than being depicted with one leg stepping forward.

It is unclear as to whether korai (and kouroi) represented gods or mortals; what is certain, however, is that they are often found in votive or funerary contexts, often at temple sites. The ‘Phrasiklea’ kore found at ancient Myhrrinous, Attica, bore an inscription indicating its solemn purpose as a grave marker for an unmarried woman. The inscription on the above-mentioned Antenor kore suggests that it had a votive role, perhaps in gratitude to a goddess. As with much of archaic and classical Greek sculpture, korai were originally polychromic – brightly painted – although the vast majority of examples, this lot included, no longer retain their paint.