Cretan Archaic period bronze youth



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A rare bronze double-sided applique figure of a standing youth. Both sides of the figure retain very faint incised lines suggesting light drapery over the body as well as deeper incised details around one eye and also the phallic region on one side.

The sinuous naturalistic body, as well as elaborate hair and high forehead, all point to Cretan workmanship but due to the fragmentary nature of the figure it is not possible to confirm the attribution with certainty.

The exact use of Archaic Cretan applique bronzes remains unknown but an intact example in The Louvre with attachment holes on the feet suggests they may have been used to adorn caskets or furniture.

Greek, likely Crete, Early Archaic, mid 7th Century BC

Fragment as shown

7.6 x 2.4 cms

Ex. collection: Dr. Gilles, Germany; acquired before 1970.
Ex. Charles Ede Ltd. published 1999, in Antiquities Catalogue 168, item 18.

For some further information on Cretan bronze applique figures please see: Herbert Hoffman, Early Cretan Armorers, 1972 (plates 48 & 49 for more elaborate examples).