Peplos Kore, Athens, Greece, 530 BCE

Ancient Greeks would also sculpt marble statues of young women, known as korai (kore for singular). Unlike men, women were always clothed in Archaic statuary. An example is the Peplos Kore.

Gardner’s Art Through the Ages calls the Peplos Kore “a stylistic sister to the Anavysos kouros (for image of the Anavysos kouros, click here). This statue most likely stood as a votive in goddess Athena’s sanctuary. The statue is name Peplos Kore because scholars originally thought she was wearing a peplos, which is a simple, long, woolen, belted garment. However, upon closer inspection, scholars realized that she is actually wearing four different garments, one of which is only worn by goddesses, thus identifying her as a goddess. The object or animal that she would have held in her left hand surely would have identified what kind of goddess she was. (Her left arm is missing because this statue, along with other statues such as the calf bearer, were knocked down by the Persians when they sacked the Acropolis in 480 BCE.)

The Peplos Kore is fully draped, with only her head, arms, and feet showing. In Archaic statuary, women were usually clothed, unlike men. The artist rendered her body in a softer, more naturalistic form, compared to older geometric renderings of the female body. Traces of paint on the statue indicate that it was once painted.

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