Picture of Giusi Sorrentino
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The archaeological site. Salamis is an ancient city located on the eastern coast of Cyprus. According to the legend, the city was founded by Teucer, son of Telamon ruler of the island of Salamis, in the XI century BC and was destroyed during the VII century AD by the Arabs invasions. South from the city, between the two major rivers, there is a small rocky hill called Τούμπα. The British Mission excavated that hill in 1890 and interpreted it as a shrine. A large number of objects regarded as vows were found and among them were hundreds of fragments of statues.
The collection. The ca. 250 fragments of statues are in terracotta or limestone. Most of them represent male standing, bearded figures, in different sizes and decorated with painted elements in black, red and rarely also yellow. Some of them are holding an animal and some other are wearing a headgear. They are attributed to the Neo-Cypriote style, dating from the second half of the VII century BC to the early VI century BC.
V.Karageorghis, The coroplastic art of ancient Cyprus
Why the Salamis collection? Nowadays, the collection is dispersed throughout several museums and private collections. The vast majority is preserved in the British Museum and the rest is distributed over the Ashmolean Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Cyprus Museum and private collections. Giving the fragmentation of this collection and at the same time the importance of this key site for Cyprus, the vows from Salamis constituted the perfect case study and starting point for GRAVITATE.