Ancient Greek Statues, Now in Color!

Painted StatueThey’re iconic.  Stark white statues, busts, and ruins of the ancient Greeks have symbolized the purity and elegant simplicity of the ancient world to us for thousands of years.  They have left an impression on our collective consciousness, appearing in countless images from Renaissance paintings to modern film and television.

Yet recent technological advancements have revealed a secret lost to the wear and tear of time.

Those classic statues were actually brightly colored in their time.

A lamp is positioned carefully enough that the path of the light is almost parallel to the surface of the object…Brush-strokes are impossible to see, but because different paints wear off at different rates, the stone is raised in some places – protected from erosion by its cap of paint – and lowered in others. Elaborate patterns become visible.

Ultraviolet is also used to discern patterns. UV light makes many organic compounds fluoresce…On ancient Greek statues, tiny fragments of pigment still left on the surface glow bright, illuminating more detailed patterns…A series of dark blues will create a very different effect than gold and pink.

Ultraviolet Light Reveals How Ancient Greek Statues Really Looked

Painted Bust

The ancient world was vividly colored.

What do you think about the ancient statues having been colored?  If you have your own statues, will you paint them?

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Honoring Artemis Potnia Theron Fosoros on Mounukhia

Àrtemis mata Acteó

Artemis Image by Sebastià Giralt via Flickr

The Mounukhia festival honors Artemis as her titles Potnia Theron (the Mistress of Beasts) and Artemis Fosforos (Artemis the Light-Bringer). It begins with a pompe in which the people carry round cakes in which small torches, or dadia, are stuck. These cakes are called amphiphontes (round-shining). They are offered to Artemis in thanks for the lives of beasts that were killed during the hunt, and for the light of the moon. Cupcakes studded with birthday candles make a simple and thoughtful substitute. Glaux Nest

Mounukhia is an ancient Greek festival dedicated to Artemis. It falls between late April and early May in the month of Mounukhion in the ancient Greek calendar. At this festival, Artemis is celebrated in her titles as Potnia Theron (the Mistress of Animals) and Artemis Fosforos (Artemis the Light-Bringer).

As with all Greek rituals, the participants are to be cleansed of miasma (negative energy) by first washing their hands and asperging themselves with water.

An offering of thanks is given to Artemis for the lives of beasts that were killed during the hunt, and for the light of the moon, in the form of a meat offering and cakes called amphiphontes. Amphiphonton (the singular) means “shining-all-around” because the cakes are ringed with lit candles to symbolize the light of the moon. The meat that was offered to her was generally a stag or some type of wild game, though modern reconstructionists have been known to sacrifice meat from the market, or even small cakes in the shape of stags.

The Mounukhia ritual also may include the reading of her hymns, and the telling of myths associated with the Goddess of the Hunt. Richard – The Pagan Village

Ritual Outline: Honoring Artemis Potnia Theron (Mistress of Beasts) & Fosforos (Light-Bringer)