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Boys Leading Rams to Sacrifice

North Frieze, Block 4, Parthenon, Athens
Artist: Unknown Greek Artist Primary
Date: ca. 442 BCE - 438 BCE
5th century BCE
Dimensions: 40 x 43 x 4 in. (101.6 x 109.22 x 10.16 cm)
Object Type: Relief Sculpture
Creation Place: Europe, Greece
Medium and Support: Plaster cast after Pentelic marble original in the Acropolis Museum, Athens
Credit Line: Gift of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Accession Number: 2019.04.14
On View: Bellarmine Hall Cast Corridor

This scene, from block 4 of the North Frieze, represents events related to the sacrifice for the Panathenaia. A procession of four bulls and four rams being brought to sacrifice appears in the four blocks closest to the east end of the frieze. The depiction is solemn as the procession moves at a stately walk.

Sources tell us that ancient Athenian law required the offering of a ewe to Pandrosus, daughter of Kekrops, the first king of Athens, whenever Athena received a cow. This offering is incorporated into the overall subject of sacrifice within the North (and the South) frieze.


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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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