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Video transcript

we're looking at a figure known as the peplos kore in the Acropolis Museum in Athens now this is one of the funny things that happens in art history things get named based on original thoughts about something but then when later research has done that name doesn't really work anymore but we keep the name because everybody knows it by that name so this is known as the peplos kore because we originally thought she was simply wearing a peplos which is an ancient Greek costume the rectangle of cloth often linen that is pinned at the shoulders and then falls down a core is a type of figure that was found throughout ancient Greece it's a female figure that's closed and the counterpart to the male chorus who is nude of course simply means young woman in Greek both corre and kore Roy were found in great numbers during the Archaic period which is the period just before the Classical it's a small sculpture and it was found on the Acropolis quarry figures were generally offerings to the goddess Athena brought interestingly in many cases by men but recent research suggests that this may not be a representation of a young woman at all this might be a goddess this figure is clothed in a very unusual way among all of the sculptures of young women that were found on the Acropolis this is the only one dressed in this way no art historians are actively arguing about what it is that she's wearing some still hold to the idea of a peplos some suggested is a Kiton underneath the peplos some say that there's a cape above so there's any number of possibilities this also been researched into the original coloration of the figure which helps us understand her costume because what she's wearing is so unusual and is similar to sculptures of goddesses but there's some conjecture recently very carefully researched conjecture that this may in fact not be an offering which is what's true of most horray on the Acropolis but that this is a goddess herself perhaps Artemis or Athena Artemis is really important she was the goddess of the hunt and she often carried a bow and arrow and what's so frustrating about this sculpture we don't have what she was carrying which would settle once and for all a lot of questions about who she was well clearly she had her left arm straight out bent at the elbow which was characteristic of most of the representations of these young women but in this case we think she might have been holding a bow with her left hand and we can see in her right hand a fist which is drilled in such a way that it could easily have held an arrow and so she may well be Artemis the goddess that the Romans would later call Diana let's take a close look at the figure we can see that there are a lot of holes crowning her head she probably wore a metal diadem a kind of metal crown with rays that would have come up which certainly suggests her divinity and it wasn't unusual for these female figures to wear crowns or to wear other kinds of jewelry that were represented either in paint or axe metal that was applied to the sculpture we can also see that there's a rod that rises right out of the top of her head and some art historians have suggested that there might have been a crescent above the diadem and as you said we can see holes for bronze earrings which would have been there originally her face would have been more complexly painted only the red really survives but we think that there was likely some black around the eyes and around the eyebrows as well as red and perhaps some more subtle colors as well the sculptor has indicated not only her breasts and her waist but also a subtle sense of her legs underneath that very heavy drapery there's a little bit of a sense of movement to the figure this is very much an archaic figure she does wear that archaic smile but we have to remember that that smile was not meant to be an expression of emotion of happiness but rather a symbol of well-being and that smile gives this the figure a sense of being transcendent a sense of being ideal of not engaging in the world of emotion and difficulty but somehow rising above all that and so that makes sense for a figure that Reza goddess or a figure that represented ideal femininity and I think that was probably really beautifully expressed when the sculpture was new and still brightly painted we found traces of paint in the band at the of the cloth that hangs down over her abdomen and then in the front of her garment that seems to part just in the middle of her poor so we see a representation of embroidery of decorative patterns and of animals right we see Sphinx we see horses there are representations of perhaps goats all of which is visible only under special lighting and is no longer visible to the eye and perhaps suggests fecundity or fertility it's very difficult to know what we do know is that she is one of the most exceptional figures from the archaic period or lucky she survived for all of these years