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Cypro-Archaic Terracotta Horse Figurine Fragment

Cypro-Archaic Terracotta Horse Figurine Fragment

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Cypro-Archaic Period I & II, c. 700-475 BC, Kourion, Republic of Cyprus.

Fabulous figure fragment from Cypro-Archaic terracotta horse and rider group. The head of a handmade, solid terracotta horse figure is preserved; delineated in an abstract style characteristic of the Cypro-Archaic period of Iron Age Cyprus. Horse has long slender neck, pointy ears, flowing mane with noticeable forelock and bridle with heavy reins.

Cypriots of the Archaic Period (c. 700-475BC) produced simple handmade figurines with coarse faces, cylindrical bodies and plain clay pellets to form hats, eyes, ears etc. Terracotta chariot (quadriga) models were left in sanctuaries as votive offerings or put into the graves of the rich as gifts during the Cypro-Archaic period and are thought to be associated with warfare. Riding horses, in warfare or for transport, was the privilege of an elite society at this time. The frequency of such horse and rider figurines (soldiers, horsemen, charioteers, disciples) suggests a great amount of dispute in Cyprus during the Iron Age. Horse and rider figurines were offered to a male divinity, and numerous examples have been found in the sanctuary of Apollo Hylates at Kourion. Hylates was a god worshipped on the island of Cyprus who was later likened to the Greek god Apollo. At the sanctuary of Avia Irini in north-west Cyprus, a large number of war chariots were excavated by the Swedish expedition in 1929.

Good condition. Age-related wear and corrosion. Chip and nicks. The object is covered with a thin layer of earthy encrustation. Size approx. 7,1cm x 5,5cm x 2,5cm. 

Provenance: According to information, from the collection of professor Dr. Med. Albert Fischer, 1891–1956. Founder and director of the Carlsberg Foundation biological institute, Copenhagen (1932–1956). Albert Fischer acquired antiquities during his travels in the 1930s-1950s.

For a similar examples see:

Chariot group, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number: 74.51.1800 (

Figurine, Louvre, Accession Number: AO 32412 (

Figure, The British Museum, Accession Number: 1896,0201.219 (

Terracotta horse and rider figurine (tomb gift), Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, Accession Number: AN1888.1267 (

References and further reading:

Terracotta Figurines from Kourion in Cyprus, John Howard Young & Suzanne Halstead Young, Published by: The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1955.

Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus, John L. Myres, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1914.

Horse and Rider Figurines from Ancient Marion, Chelsea Walter, Arizona State University, December 2014.

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