What do they depict?
What do the figurines depict?
Most Cycladic figurines depict female figures with their arms folded under the chest. Only the nose is visible on the face, while the toes are pointed downwards. Some figurines with folded arms have a distended abdomen and depict women in a state of pregnancy. There are other figurines, which do not have arms and legs, nor a head. They more closely resemble the shape of a violin, which is why they were called violin-shaped.
Figurines depicting male figures have also been found, such as the famous seated figurine, holding a cup in his hand, and the hunter who has a weapon, perhaps a knife, engraved over his right arm.
Is it a man or a violin?
In an effort to render the human torso, the Cycladic artist sculpted the figurine without a head, hands or feet. Since this form strongly resembled a violin, archaeologists called it “violin-shaped.” However, as they evolved over time, these linear, abstract figures came to acquire a head, facial features, hands, feet and breasts.
Figures with folded arms
The figurines with folded arms are the most common and almost always female. Their height ranges from a few centimeters up to almost 1.5 meters. For the most part, they measure around 40 centimeters. On the faces, the nose is distinctive, with arms folded beneath the breast, and toes pointed downwards.
Do all figurines have folded arms?
Not all of them. The figurines that don’t have folded arms are always male and offer us valuable information about everyday life in the Cyclades almost five millennia before our time. Most of them represent figures that are seated or standing, playing a musical instrument, holding weapons for hunting or for battle, or holding out a cup in one hand. Male figurines with folded arms do exist but they are especially rare.
Is it one figure or two?
Certain figurines are unusual examples. They are made up of composites, i.e. compositions of two or more figures, most probably related to religion or maternity. One wonders after whom these figurines were modeled.