One of the six Korai -known as Karyatids- that supported the roof of the south porch of the Erechtheion, instead of columns. The Kore’s left leg is firmly planted on the ground whereas she projects her right slightly bent leg. On her right thigh preserved is a graffito written in a later period. She is clad in a belted Doric peplos with a rich overfold. From her shoulders a himation folded in two falls over her back. 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. Kore D stands apart from her sisters both in the proportions as she is slenderer and her more intense body movement.
The drill which facilitated the connection between the capital and the Kore’s head differs from those of the other Korai perhaps due either to a repair during antiquity or the artist who made the statue and the marble quality. In 1826 during the siege of the Acropolis Kore D was hit by a cannon-fire and fell on the ground. It was then that her head was detached from the body but was mended during the 1837 restoration.
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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