Friday, October 22nd, 2010
The Un-Peplos Kore
Tonight I’ve been researching why the so-called “Peplos Kore” (c. 530 BCE, shown left) might not be wearing a peplos garment. (A “peplos” is a rectangle of cloth that is pinned at the shoulders and worn with a belt – it gives the effect that the woman is wearing a blouse. And “kore” means young woman; it is a name given to certain female statues made by the Greeks.)
This current “un-peplos” argument is based on recent reconstructions and studies of the figurine. Instead of a peplos, it is thought that the statue is wearing a long robe, cape, and an ependytes (an outer garment which is a metal-like sheath divided into regular, rectangular compartments).1 The ependytes was an Eastern garment associated with divine power, and therefore suggests that this figurine would have represented some type of goddess, perhaps Artemis or Athena.
This argument has been solidified by the recent reconstructions of the Peplos Kore by German archaeologist Vincenz Brinkmann.2 I suppose that now the problem is to try and ascertain which goddess could be depicted. The statue’s missing right hand probably held some object to help ascertain her identity (like a bow for Artemis). Brinkmann favors the idea that the goddess is Artemis (although alternate theories have been presented by others).3 Anyhow, here are some possible ideas presented in reconstructions of the Peplos Kore:
1 Richard T. Neer, The Emergence of the Classical Style in Greek Sculpture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 119. Source available online here.
2 Ibid. You also can read an English review of Brinkmann’s publication here (review by by Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway). Be sure to check out the penultimate paragraph and footnote #12 to find out more information about the Peplos Kore argument.
3 See Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway review (Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.08.07), footnote #12.