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Caryatid from the Erechtheum

The Erechtheum is one of the temples on the Acropolis, named after an early mythical king of Athens, Erechtheus. The Erechtheum is unusual in that it has an asymmetric shape and is built on different levels.

Also unusual is that the six columns of its south porch are caryatids, that is, in the form of female figures. There were some earlier Caryatids at Delphi but they were generally an unusual feature. These ones are by far the best known examples. The Erechtheum is of the Ionic architectural order, and it is often said that the proportions of Ionic are “feminine” compared to the “masculine” Doric, as used in the Parthenon for example.

All the caryatids we see today on the Erechtheum are replicas; this one was removed in 1979

Pentelic marble
Location of Original: 

Athens, Acropolis Museum


Purchased from the Paris Beaux Arts in 1884


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 192 (n.4)
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 67, no.308
Lawrence: Classical Sculpture (1928), 220
Reporter: 19 June 1885, 893, no.274
Hurwit: The Athenian Acropolis (1999), 204

421-407 BCE

In situ until 1979

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