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Sculpture in Antiquity

Works of sculpture in the round
Works in relief
Works in ivory

Images on this page

Ivory head of Alexander
Ivory head in relief, most probably depicting Alexander III, from the Tomb of Philip at Vergina, third quarter of 4th century BC, Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum.

Gold-and-ivory shield
Gold-and-ivory 'ceremonial' shield with male and female device on the outer side, from the Tomb of Philip at Vergina, third quarter of 4th century BC, Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum.

Ivory relief
Ivory ornament relief from the funerary couch in the 'Tomb of the Prince' at Vergina, 310-300 BC, Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum.

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Ivory head of Alexander
Vergina, third quarter of 4th century BC


Gold-and-ivory shield
Vergina, third quarter of 4th century BC

Ivory work is a specialized branch of sculpture. It consists of small reliefs which adorned wooden couches. Examples of this art have been found in Macedonia in the royal tombs of Vergina. In Philip's tomb there was a group of small heads in relief, some of which may represent members of the royal family (Philip II, Alexander III, Olympias), while others represent members of the Dionysiac circle.

A unique find was the gold and ivory shield ornamented in the center with the interlaced figures of a young man (possibly Achilles) and woman (possibly an Amazon) in a frame of spirals, meanders and swastikas.

Another exceptional find is the composite relief from the ornament of the funerary couch of the Tomb of the Prince showing a bearded man with a wreathed wand and a young woman in front of whom a goat-legged Pan plays his reed pipe.


Ivory relief
Vergina, 310-300 BC

See Also
Civilization - Weapons in Antiquity
In Focus - Macedonian Tombs


Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.