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The Historic Plaster Cast Collection

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The image features a plaster cast of four female figures wearing traditional greek clothing in a line facing or moving left. All of them are missing their heads except the third from the right.

Open Access

Procession of Maidens

East Frieze, Block 8, Parthenon, Acropolis, 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: Plaster Cast
Creation Place: Europe, Greece
Medium and Support: Plaster cast after Pentelic marble
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.


Catalogue of the Collection of Casts. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1910, 68 #530


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Athenian Acropolis
An ancient citadel located in the city of Athens containing the remains of several ancient buildings including the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
Wool mantles worn by women and men in ancient Greece.
Woolen garments worn by women of ancient Greece; often open on one side, and fastened on both shoulders.
Pentelic marble
A famous Greek marble quarried at Mount Pentelikon near Athens. It is pure white but may turn yellow after long exposure to air; a few miniscule veins of talc sometimes cause a faint greenish tint. It was used in antiquity as early as the 6th century BCE and continued to be popular for both sculpture and architecture; both the sculptural decoration and the architectural members of the Parthenon are made of Pentelic marble.
High Classical
Refers to the middle phase of the Greek Classical period and style, from around 450 BCE to around 400 BCE. In sculpture it is characterized by the complete mastery of the ideal human form, represented in balanced, subtle movement and with drapery that clings to the body to reveal the form beneath. In vase painting, it is characterized by an increased refinement and variety of human forms and facial expressions. In architecture it is characterized by a lightening of proportions and a refinement of earlier established orders.
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
The higher and usually fortified sections of ancient Greek cities, typically containing temples and some public buildings and used as places of refuge.
Ancient Greek
Refers to the culture and styles of ancient Greece, generally excluding modern and prehistoric periods, but including periods between around 900 BCE to around 31 BCE. For the culture of Greece in general, including modern Greece, see "Greek."
An ancient temple on the Athenian Acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena Parthenos during the 5th century BCE. The structure was built to commemorate the Greek victory over the Persians and also served as the city's treasury.
Extended horizontal bands decorating architecture, furniture, or other objects and containing figures, scenes, inscriptions, or ornamental motifs. For the specific parts of classical entablatures, see "friezes (entablature components)."
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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