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Clay figurine of a centaur (half-man, half-horse).

Clay figurine of a centaur (half-man, half-horse). From Lefkandi, Greece

If the Greeks did not produce big statues in the Bronze Age, they certainly could not afford to in the Dark Age after it, when they were much poorer. Greek sculptors did go on producing little figurines, and even made a lot of them out of bronze. These little statuettes are often found at religious shrines and were clearly gifts to the gods. The figurines show the same interests that the Mycenaean Greeks had in the Bronze Age in men, hunting, and horses.

Deer nursing (Thebes, ca. 750 BC)

Deer nursing (Thebes, ca. 750 BC)

Some of the statuettes are men in armor, and horses; a lot of them are deer. They look a lot like Eastern European and Central Asian figurines from about the same time. Unlike in the Bronze Age, now women appear rarely, if at all. But with the beginning of the Archaic period, this all changes.

Learn by doing: sculpt your own clay figurine
More about Archaic Greek Sculpture

Bibliography and further reading about Dark Age Greek sculpture:

Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period, by John Boardman (reprinted 1985). The standard reference for college students.

The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction, by William R. Biers (1996). Biers writes very clearly and has a lot of good pictures.

Greek Art and Archaeology (3rd Edition), by John G. Pedley (2002) This has a lot of good information and is pretty readable. Plus, the author is really an expert in this field.

Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art, by Sarah P. Morris (1995). Emphasizes the importance of West Asian influences on Greek art.

More about Archaic Greek sculpture
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