Description and identificationEdit

The statue is known usually as the Berlin Goddess, as it currently resides in the Altes Museum in Berlin, and is commonly believed to the the statue of a greek goddsess. It is an slightly larger than life size, 1.93 meters tall, statue made of marble depicting a female holding a pomegranate that is originally from Attica, a region of Greece that includes Athens, and dates back to around 570-560 BCE which falls into the High Archaic period. There is no clear indication of what purpose this object had, and it is not fully known whether or not this is a statue of a goddess or just a woman. [See Berlin 1800]

Technical AspectsEdit

In ancient Greece marble was quarried from areas around the Greek penninsula by bow drills and wooden wedges soaked in water to break away workable blocks [See Cartwright 2013]. It seems that it was also not uncommon to import marble as well, especially from the Agean islands where it was common [See Renfew 1968]. Sculptors would then use iron tools to chisel away at the block. They would start with a pointed tool to remove larger pieces and then work down to smaller chisels and hand drills to sculpt the finer details. They smoothened and finished the statues with an abrasive powder but rarely polished them. They would typically paint statues too, as it seems the Berlin Goddess was as remnants of red paint still exist. It seems that early Greek sculpture started in bronze and then moved on to marble, which does not change color with age as bronze does [See Cartwright 2013]. The statue was found at Keratea, Greece (near Athens) wrapped in lead and mostly undamaged. It was later bought by the Altes Museum in 1924. [See Berlin 1800]

Local Historical ContextEdit

The Archaic period of ancient Greece lasted from around 750 to 480 BCE. It is known for the development of art, especially sculpture. It came after the Dark Ages of ancient Greece and before the Classical period. The Archaic period also saw the start of democracy, as well as the use and knowledge of written language that was re-established after it had fallen away during the Dark Ages. The greek polis, or city state, was also a development during this period, as well as colonization of Greeks abroad in neighboring Mediterranean lands. [See "The Archaic Period"] We know that during this time sculptors could train at workshops, find permanent employment, and often take pride in and sign their work. [See Cartwright 2013]. In the statue, The pomegranate held by the figure may indicate that the statue was given as a part of a marriage or in memory of a deceased individual, with the pomegranate being a gift to a god or goddess. However, if the figure is a goddess, the headdress she is wearing is commonly connected to fertility goddesses, and the pomegranate might indicate that she is the goddess Persophone. [See Berlin 1800]

World and Historical SignificanceEdit

Gandhara Buddha (tnm)

Standing Gandharan Buddha with apparent Hellenistic influences

This object as a whole is not uncommon. If it is in fact a statue of a goddess then it is goes with the trend seen throughout cultures and time of religious statues and idols. Even it’s size is not uncommon as a statue in Greece as many marble statues from Greece were life size or bigger, most notably the Venus de Milo which followed a few centuries later. Greek sculpture is both widely known and influential to the modern and ancient world. As the world became more interconnected through trade especially with trade done on the Silk Road or around the Indian Ocean, and after the concquests of Alexander the Great Greek or Helenistic culture and influence spread. Sculptures from other civilizations, such as Roman, Indian, Chinese, or Egyptian, exhibit Hellenistic features after they have interactions with greek culture and trade along the silk road. [See Tarn 1902] One example is the Gandharan Buddha which has Roman and Greek qualities.


"THE ARCHAIC PERIOD." Accessed May 29, 2014.

"Berlin 1800 (Sculpture)." Perseus Digital Library. Accessed May 30, 2014.

Cartwright, Mark. "Greek Sculpture." Ancient History Encyclopedia. January 20, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2014.

Renfew, Colin, and J. Springer Peacy. "Publications Of The British School At Athens." The Annual of the British School at Athens 63 (1968): 45-66. Accessed May 30, 2014.

"Statue of the 'Berlin Goddess'" Google Cultural Institute. Accessed May 30, 2014. 

Tarn, W. W. "Notes on Hellenism in Bactria and India." The Journal of Hellenic Studies 22 (January 01, 1902): 268-93. Accessed May 30, 2014.