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Open Access

Procession of Maidens

East Frieze, Block 7, Parthenon, Athens
Artist: Unknown Greek Artist Primary
Date: ca. 442-438 BCE
5th century BCE
Dimensions: 41 x 40 x 2.5 in. (104.14 x 101.6 x 6.35 cm)
Object Type: Relief Sculpture
Creation Place: Europe, Greece
Medium and Support: Plaster cast from Pentelic marble original in the Louvre Museum, Paris
Credit Line: Gift of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004
Accession Number: 2019.04.16
On View: Bellarmine Hall Cast Corridor

This section is from the right side of the East Frieze and is part of the procession of maidens walking to the left toward the peplos ceremony. The full panel, which is in the Louvre (Paris), contains four additional figures at left: two maidens between two marshals.

The object being carried by the third figure is a phiale (shallow offering bowl). The women are dressed either in a linen chiton covered by heavy and voluminous himation, or in a woolen peplos with a mantle draped over their shoulders. Some have their long hair tied up in a scarf, while others wear it loose and streaming down their backs. Such distinctions indicate the rank and status of the young women depicted, and their prescribed roles in the ceremony. For example, kanephoroi (or upper-class maidens), who were permitted the honorable task of carrying the ceremonial basket, are identifiable by a chiton with himation and bound hair.


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Three-dimensional works of art in which images and forms are produced in relief, in intaglio, or in the round. The term refers particularly to art works created by carving or engraving a hard material, by molding or casting a malleable material (which usually then hardens), or by assembling parts to create a three-dimensional object. It is typically used to refer to large or medium-sized objects made of stone, wood, bronze, or another metal. Small objects are typically referred to as "carvings" or another appropriate term. "Sculpture" refers to works that represent tangible beings, objects, or groups of objects, or are abstract works that have defined edges and boundaries and can be measured. As three-dimensional works become more diffused in space or time, or less tangible, use appropriate specific terms, such as "mail art" or "environmental art."

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