One of the six Korai -known as Karyatids- that supported the roof of the south porch of the Erechtheion, instead of columns. The left arm and part of the right arm are missing. The folds of her clothes from mid-thigh and downwards are greatly damaged. The figure’s surface is corroded, while the left side of the face is severely worn.
The Kore stands on her right leg whereas she has her left leg bent projecting it slightly forward. She is draped in a girded peplos which creates a rich fold over the belt. On her shoulders the himation is folded in two falling over her back in two uneven parts. The Kore, as we know from ancient copies, would have once held the edge of her himation with her left hand and a phiale with the right. Her rich hair is elaborately braided: from behind the ears plaits are weaved and wrapped around the head like a wreath. The main body of the hair divided in two whirling locks and braided in a loose plait which leaves the hair edges free, falls down the back, supporting this way the weak area around her neck. On the front, two further locks fall over on each side of her bosom.
The Korai that decorated the south porch of the Erechtheion, stood on a low base (podium) arranged in a Π-shaped layout facing the way to the Acropolis, along which passed the procession of the Panathenaic festival. The vertical folds of their garments resemble column fluting and the peculiar capitals in the shape of baskets on their heads, concentrated the roof's weight and directed it downwards.
Replacing the columns with female statues was a common Greek architectural practice since the Archaic period. These statues are called merely Korai in the building inscriptions of the temple. The term Karyatids has been handed down to us by Vitruvius who tells the story of the women from Karyes in Laconia in the Peloponnese that were punished by the other Greeks and were thus obliged to carry on their heads the weight of their clothes and jewellery as their city had supported the Persians. However, according to Lucian, the women from Karyes were famous for their dance in honour of the goddess Artemis, which they performed with ceremonial baskets on their heads.
Many interpretations of the Korai have been put forward in modern times: Kekrops' daughters, Arrhephoroi or young women that participate in the Panathenaic procession. The most convincing however is, that they were part of an above-the-ground monument over the grave of the mythical Kekrops, the Kekropeion, which was located directly below. They were the choephoroi, the libation bearers that honored the dead hero-king pouring offerings with the phialai that they held in their hands.
Five of the Karyatids, Korai A, B, D, E, and F are in Greece while the sixth, Kore C, is in the British Museum in London, after it was detached in 1804 by Thomas Bruce, lord of Elgin. In 1979 the Korai were removed from the monument so that they would be protected from air pollution and were transferred in the old Acropolis Museum. They were replaced in the Erechtheion by copies made of synthetic stone. Since 2009 the Korai are displayed in the Acropolis Museum.
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