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365 Days of Art Archive - Ancient collection

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From the Ancient collection.

Grave Marker

A puzzle from ancient Greece: this relief shows a scene of husband and wife departing at death—but which one has died?

From the Ancient collection.


Aphrodite prepares for a night of love.

From the Ancient collection.

Greek Lion

The artist probably never saw an actual lion. He has combined bovine hips with a horse’s ribs and a goat’s vertebrae; the pose is of a playful puppy.

From the Ancient collection.


This is probably a portrait of Antinous, the emperor Hadrian’s lover. Upon Antinoos’s death, Hadrian declared him a deity as his near perfect features suggest.

From the Ancient collection.

Boundary Stela with Queen Nefertiti and Princess Maketaten

This relief portrays the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Her name means “The Beautiful One Has Arrived.”

From the Ancient collection.

Funerary Portrait of a Woman

This aristocratic Roman lady wears a wig. Romans preferred to buy their hair from Germany—they liked the blond look—or from far-off India—rich, thick, black hair that could be elegantly shaped.

From the Ancient collection.


An adolescent flees the urgent advances of a flying godess.

From the Ancient collection.

Son of Alexas Aulos Signet Ring with Gem Depicting Apollo and Cassandra

Our most erotically-charged work. On this deep red gem Apollo looks down at a half-naked sleeping Cassandra. Apollo loved Cassandra and when she did not return his love, he cursed her so that no one would believe her prophecies.

From the Ancient collection.

Odysseus and Ajax

Democracy at work. On this, one of the earliest representations of voting, Odysseus and Ajax cast their ballots (which were actually leaves!) for who should win the arms of the deceased Achilles. (FYI: Odysseus won; Ajax committed suicide.)

From the Ancient collection.

Sesotris III

Here in Kansas City - one of the greatest Egyptian sculptures in America.

From the Ancient collection.

Castor or Pollux

Love handles on such a muscular boy?

From the Ancient collection.


Lice alert! Apart from the long side-lock, this child’s head had been neatly shaved probably in part to avoid lice.

From the Ancient collection.

Metjetji relief

The hieroglyphs on this tomb state: “As for those who built this tomb, I paid them... I gave them clothes and provided their nourishment with bread and beer.”

From the Ancient collection.

Winged Genie

After this relief was discovered in the 1850s near Mosul, Iraq, it was cut into several pieces so that camels could transport it to Beirut. The rest of the journey to Missouri was by boat.

From the Ancient collection.

Ramses II

Ramses II not only ruled more than 60 years, he also fathered some 90 children.

From the Ancient collection.

Horus as a Falcon

The Maltese Falcon, or better

From the Ancient collection.

Ptolemy I

Ptolemy I was the first Greek-speaking ruler of Egypt.

From the Ancient collection.

Foundation Figure

This statuette was probably never meant to be seen: it was made to be buried in the foundations of a temple to preserve the edifice for eternity.

From the Ancient collection.

Euaion Painter Kylix

No women portrayed on this banquet cup--just young male drinkers! A proper woman would never attend a Greek banquet.

From the Ancient collection.

Achilles and Penthesileia

Just as Achilles’ spear plunged into this Amazon queen, he looked in her eyes and fell in love.

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