Figurine of a Dancing Woman
Museum purchase, Salinger Bequest Fund
de Younhg, Masterworks of Theater and Dance, A Tribute to Nancy Van Norman Baer, 1 May - 5 Sept 1999.
Although the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia, such as Centuripe in Sicily, remained politically independent of mainland Greece in the 2nd century BC, artistically they followed traditions established by the motherland. This dancing woman represents the merging of the sober tradition of clay figures developed in Greece with the inspiration of newer, more dramatic figures from Asia Minor. The dancer's swirling draperies, fluid movement, and elaborate gestures are characteristic of the lively, free poses favored in this period. Terracotta figures such as this example were usually cast from molds, and details were added with a pointed tool. After firing they were painted bright colors. The precise function of the figures is not known, but they were probably votive offerings at tombs or domestic shrines.