Greek Terracotta Head of a Goddess
An ancient Greek terracotta head of a goddess, probably Cybele, with an elaborate coiffure and a feline at her side.
Taranto, Southern Italy.
The goddess Cybele had been worshipped in Anatolia since the Neolithic Period. She was primarily associated with the fertile earth and wild animals, particularly lions and bees. In the Classical Period, priestesses of Cybele conducted mysterious orgiastic rites and it is said that her most devout male followers castrated themselves to join the priesthood. The cult of Cybele was equally revered in Rome. The site of her ancient temple in Rome was rededicated as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Formerly in the collection of Dr. Konrad B. Schauffelen, Germany.