Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 30, No 1 (2017)

Representation as Visual Exegesis: The Stone Figurines of Chalcolithic Cyprus

Richard G. Lesure
Issued Date: 3 Jul 2017

Abstract


An image may signify not simply by resembling its referent but also by being similar to or different from other images. Among Chalcolithic stone figurines from Cyprus, that second dimension of signification seems to account for much of the formal variability. Several heterogeneous types were characterized by differential schematization: images ranged from highly schematic to more recognizably anthropomorphic. In each of these types, formal relations among the figurines suggest an underlying logic uniting a diversity of images. Individual figurines would have been perceived both as distinctive and as part of a systematically varied whole. Cross-referencing among the images is so pronounced that it needs to be given serious attention in any effort to characterize subject matter. I suggest that the stone figurines were not depictions of people, but rather of signs—logo-like symbols conceived of as vaguely anthropomorphic. It is thus the more schematic of the figurines that come closest to depicting the basic subject of the images. Anthropomorphic detail constituted an elaboration on the core image, and it signified metaphorically rather than literally. Like cartoonists who distort the faces or bodies of politicians, Chalcolithic figurine makers manipulated the form of stone figurines to interpret the meaning of their subjects. These representations can be thought of as ‘visual exegeses’, because an interpretive commentary on the referent was embedded in the form of the image. Indeed, most of the differences in form among the figurines derive from the varied interpretive elaborations of the artists rather than an effort to distinguish different referents.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/jmea.32913

References



a Campo, A.L.


 1994 Anthropomorphic Representations in Prehistoric Cyprus: A Formal and Symbolic Analysis of Figurines, c. 3500–1800 B.C. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology and Literature, Pocket-book 109. Jonsered, Sweden: Paul Åströms Förlag.


Bolger, D.


 1988 Erimi-Pamboula: A Chalcolithic Settlement in Cyprus. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 443. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.


 1989 Regionalism, cultural variation and the culture-area concept in later prehistoric Cypriot studies. In E. Peltenburg (ed.), Early Society in Cyprus, 142-52. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


 1996 Figurines, fertility, and the emergence of complex society in prehistoric Cyprus. Current Anthropology 37: 365-73. https://doi.org/10.1086/204500


 2003 Gender in Ancient Cyprus: Narratives of Social Change on a Mediterranean Island. Walnut Creek, California: Altamira Press.


 2010 Gender and social complexity in prehistoric and protohistoric Cyprus. In D. Bolger and L.C. Maguire (eds.), The Development of Pre-state Communities in the Ancient Near East: Studies in Honour of Edgar Peltenburg, 156-64. Oxford: Oxbow Books.


Chiquita Brands


 2016 Miss Chiquita: get to know our first lady of fruit. Internet Edition: http://www.chiquita.com/Our-Company/The-Chiquita-Story/Miss-Chiquita.aspx


Christou, S.


 2012 Sexually Ambiguous Imagery in Cyprus from the Neolithic to the Cypro-Archaic Period. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 2329. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.


Clarke, J. (with C. McCartney and A. Wasse)


 2007 On the Margins of Southwest Asia: Cyprus during the 6th to 4th Millennia bc. Oxford: Oxbow Books.


Cox, N.


 2000 Cubism. London: Phaidon Press.


Crewe, L., K. Lorentz, E. Peltenburg and S. Spanou


 2005 Treatments of the dead: preliminary report of investigations at Souskiou-Laona Chalcolithic cemetery, 2001–2004. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus: 41-67.


Crewe, L., E. Peltenburg and S. Spanou


 2002 Contexts for cruciforms: figurines of prehistoric Cyprus. Antiquity 76: 21-22. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00089663


Crouwel, J.


 1978 Cypriote Chalcolithic figurines in Amsterdam. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus: 31-38.


Dalrymple, W.


 2005 Inside the madrasas. New York Review of Books 52(19), 1 December, 2005: 16-20.


Dikaios, P.


 1962 The Stone Age. In P. Dikaios and J.R. Stewart, Swedish Cyprus Expedition IV.1A, 1-204. Lund: Swedish Cyprus Expedition.


Durkheim, E.


 1965 [1912] Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Trans. J.W. Swain. New York: Free Press.


Flourentzos, P.


 1990 Catalogue of the exhibition. In Cyprus before the Bronze Age: Art of the Chalcolithic Period, 25-44. Malibu, California: J. Paul Getty Museum.


Frankel, D.


 1997 Cypriot figurines and the origins of patriarchy. Current Anthropology 38: 84-86. https://doi.org/10.1086/204584


Gell, A.


 1998 Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Goring, E.


 1991a The anthropomorphic figurines. In E. Peltenburg, Lemba Archaeological Project II.2. A Ceremonial Area at Kissonerga. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(3): 39-60. Göteborg, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 1991b Pottery figurines: the development of a coroplastic art in Chalcolithic Cyprus. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 282-83: 153-61. https://doi.org/10.2307/1357268


 1998a Catalog of figurines, figurine fragments, phalli, possibly figurative worked and unworked stones, unidentifiable worked stone and pottery fragments. In E. Peltenburg (and Project Members), Lemba Archaeological Project II.1B. Excavations at Kissonerga-Mosphilia, 1979-1992, 176-92. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.


 1998b Figurines, figurine fragments, phalli, possible figurative worked and unworked stones, unidentifiable worked stone and pottery fragments. In E. Peltenburg (and Project Members), Lemba Archaeological Project II.1A. Excavations at Kissonerga-Mosphilia, 1979-1992. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(2): 148-67. Göteborg, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 2003 Figurines, figurine fragments, unidentifiable worked stone and pottery fragments. In E. Peltenburg (and Project Members), Lemba Archaeological Project III.1. The Colonisation and Settlement of Cyprus: Investigations at Kissonerga-Mylouthkia 1976-1996. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(4): 169-76. Sävedalen, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 2006 Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines and pendants. In E. Peltenburg (ed.), The Chalcolithic Cemetery of Souskiou-Vathyrkakas, Cyprus, 67-90. Nicosia: Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus.


Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts


 1988 French Caricature and the French Revolution, 1789–1799. Los Angeles: Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles.


Karageorghis, J.


 1992 On some aspects of Chalcolithic religion in Cyprus. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus: 17-27.


Karageorghis, V.


 1983 The Civilization of Prehistoric Cyprus. New York and London: Alpine Fine Arts Collection.


 1991a Coroplastic Art of Ancient Cyprus I. Chalcolithic-Late Cypriot I. Nicosia: A.G. Leventis Foundation.


 1991b A terracotta pendant from Kalavassos-Ayious. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 282-83: 161-66. https://doi.org/10.
2307/1357269


 2003 The Cyprus Collections in the Medelhavsmuseet. Nicosia, Stockholm: AG L Foundation, Medelhavsmuseet.


Knapp, A.B.


 2013 The Archaeology of Cyprus: From Earliest Prehistory through the Bronze Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Knapp, A.B, and L. Meskell


 1997 Bodies of evidence on prehistoric Cyprus. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 7: 183-204. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774300001931


Knox, D.


 2012 Making Sense of Figurines in Bronze Age Cyprus: A Comprehensive Analysis of Cypriot Ceramic Figurative Material from EC I–LC IIIA. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Manchester, UK.


Le Brun, A.


 2002 Neolithic society in Cyprus: a tentative analysis. In D. Bolger and N. Serwint (eds.), Engendering Aphrodite: Women and Society in Ancient Cyprus. Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, Monograph 3: 23-31. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research.


Lesure, R.G.


 2015 Prehistoric figurine styles as fashion: a case from formative central Mexico. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 25: 99-119. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774314000651


Manning, S.W.


 1993 Prestige, distinction, and competition: the anatomy of socioeconomic complexity in fourth to second millennium B.C.E. Cyprus. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 292: 35-58. https://doi.org/10.2307/1357247


Morris, D.


 1985 The Art of Ancient Cyprus. Oxford: Phaidon Press.


Peltenburg, E.J.


 1977 Chalcolithic figurines from Lemba, Cyprus. Antiquity 51: 140-43. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00103187


 1982 The evolution of the Cypriot cruciform figurine. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus: 12-14.


 1989 The beginnings of religion in Cyprus. In E. Peltenburg (ed.), Early Society in Cyprus, 108-26. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


 1991 Contextual implications of the Kissonerga rituals. Lemba Archaeological Project II.2. A Ceremonial Area at Kissonerga. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(3): 85-108. Göteborg, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 1992 Birth pendants in life and death: evidence from Kissonerga Grave 563. In G.C. Ioannides (ed.), Studies in Honor of Vassos Karageorghis, 27-36. Nicosia: Society of Cypriot Studies.


 1993 Settlement discontinuity and resistance to complexity in Cyprus, ca. 4500–2500 B.C.E. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 292: 9-23. https://doi.org/10.2307/1357245


 1998 The character and evolution of settlements at Kissonerga. In E. Peltenburg (and Project Members), Lemba Archaeological Project II.1A. Excavations at Kissonerga-Mosphilia, 1979-1992. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(2): 233-60. Göteborg, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 2006 Souskiou-Vathyrkakas and the prehistory of Cyprus: initial assessments. In E.J. Peltenburg (ed.), The Chalcolithic Cemetery of Souskiou-Vathyrkakas, Cyprus, 153-81. Nicosia: Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus.


 2011 The prehistoric centre of Souskiou in southwest Cyprus. In A. Demetriou (ed.), Proceedings of the IV International Cyprological Congress, 681-89. Nicosia: Society of Cypriot Studies.


Peltenburg, E.J. (and Project Members)


 1985 Lemba Archaeological Project I. Excavations at Lemba-Lakkous, 1976-1983. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(1). Göteborg, Sweden: P. Åström’s Förlag.


 1991 Lemba Archaeological Project II.2. A Ceremonial Area at Kissonerga. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(3). Göteborg, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 1998a Lemba Archaeological Project II.1A. Excavations at Kissonerga-Mosphilia, 1979-1992. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(2). Göteborg, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 1998b Lemba Archaeological Project II.1B. Excavations at Kissonerga-Mosphilia, 1979-1992. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.


 2003 Lemba Archaeological Project III.1. The Colonisation and Settlement of Cyprus: Investigations at Kissonerga-Mylouthkia 1976-1996. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70(4). Sävedalen, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


 2006 The Chalcolithic Cemetery of Souskiou-Vathyrkakas. Cyprus. Nicosia: Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus.


Peltenburg, E.J., and J.M. Webb


 2013 Figurines and other objects. In E.J. Peltenburg (ed.), Associated Regional Chronologies for the Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean (ARCANE) II. Cyprus, 251-97. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.


Starbucks Coffee


 2011 So, who is the siren? Internet Edition: http://www.starbucks.com/blog/so-who-is-the-siren


Swiny, H.W., and S. Swiny


 1983 An anthropomorphic figurine from the Sotira area. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus: 56-59.


Talalay, L.E., and T. Cullen


 2002 Sexual ambiguity in plank figures from Bronze Age Cyprus. In D. Bolger and N. Serwint (eds.), Engendering Aphrodite: Women and Society in Ancient Cyprus. Cyprus American Archaeological

Research Institute, Monograph 3: 181-95. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research.


Todd, I.A., and P. Croft


 2004 Vasilikos Valley Project 8. Excavations at Kalavasos-Ayious. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 71(8). Sävedalen, Sweden: P. Åströms Förlag.


Vagnetti, L.


 1974 Preliminary remarks on Cypriot Chalcolithic figurines. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, 1974: 24-33.


 1975 Some unpublished Chalcolithic figurines. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus: 1-4.


 1980 Figurines and minor objects from a Chalcolithic cemetery at Souskiou-Vathyrkakas (Cyprus). Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici 21: 17-72.


 1987 Two Chalcolithic stone figurines from Erimi. Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus: 19-21.


Webb, J.M., and D. Frankel


 2010 Social strategies, ritual and cosmology in Early Bronze Age Cyprus: an investigation of burial data from the north coast. Levant 42: 185-209. https://doi.org/10.1179/175638010X12797237885776



Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy