Skip to navigation – Site map
Récentes conférences

Representations of Musicians in the Coroplastic Art of the Ancient World: Iconography, Ritual Contexts, and Functions


Top of page

Full text

Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
European Commission Research Executive Agency
Seventh Framework Programme, Marie Curie Actions
Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna
Center for Ancient Studies at New York University
The Association for Coroplastic Studies


Choral Songs of Girls in Preclassical Sparta: Poetic Performance, Rhythmical Rituals, Musical Arts, Gendered Identities

1Claude Calame, Emeritus Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Centre AnHiMA

The culture of song and dance in ancient Greece, particularly in preclassical Sparta, offers many melic poems that correspond to choral songs ritually performed on the occasion of the different stages of an educational cursus—be it erotic, religious and social—of an initiatory function. To the various rhythms of a performance sung and danced (vocal rhythm, rhythm within the musical melody, metrical rhythm corresponding to a choreography and a set of gestures), one must add the rhythm of the annual religious and civic calendar. This rhythm is composed of the cultic festivals into which are inserted the rituals associated with the different stages leading young men and girls from an instable adolescence to mature adulthood. This rhythm, both in song and ritual cursus, can be highlighted in the reading of a partheneion song composed by the poet Alcman in Sparta for musical and ritual performance by a chorus of young women.

Musician Dwarves in Ancient Mesopotamia and Elam

2Annie Caubet, Honorary Curator, Louvre Museum

A number of terracotta plaques of the early second millennium B.C.E. in Babylonia and Elam depict craftsmen engaged in their activity, among them a number of lyre, lute and harp players. These images provide excellent information concerning the shape and construction technique of these instruments. Their archaeological contexts are unknown and their function and meaning unclear: they may have been dedicated to the gods by musician votaries wishing to leave their mark; or by non-musicians in order to perpetuate the celebration of rituals accompanied by such musical instruments.

Most of these plaques, created from a single mold pressed into fresh clay, depict the figures in profile, conforming to standard Mesopotamian iconography. A smaller group, however, show a figure seen frontally, a common visual device for the depiction of supra human and magical figures. Not only is the head presented in frontal view, but the whole body is as well, each leg extending outwards with flexed knees, boldly displaying the sexual parts. The proportions of the different components of the body—the overlarge head and the shortened, distorted legs are diagnostic traits of nanism, or dwarves, who were rumored in popular belief to possess extra-natural sexual power. In the later visual arts of the ancient world, these traits would be borrowed for the depiction of such fantastic figures as the wild man Humbaba in Mesopotamia, Bes in Egypt and the Levant, and the Gorgon in Greece. A significant number of these terracotta dwarf figures of Mesopotamia and Elam are musicians: they are engaged in playing a lute, while their bent legs are shown in the movement of dance, an illustration of the Biblical passage where David danced before the Ark, flexing his knees (II Samuel 6, 15).

These representations of dwarves are early illustrations of the ambiguous status—both positive and repulsiveenjoyed by music and musicians in the ancient world, examples of which are to be found in later grotesque representations of musicians from the Greco-Roman world.

The Terracotta Figurines with Stringed Instruments from the Sanctuary of Apollo Clarios

3Elçin Doğan Gürbüzer, Assistant Professor, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey

The sanctuary of Apollo Clarios is located in Turkey, within the borders of modern Ahmetbeyli in the province of Izmir, in what was known in antiquity as Ionia. The establishment of the sanctuary is dated to the 13th century B.C.E., and it was in continuous use to the late Roman period. The sanctuary, which was dedicated to Apollo, the god of the oracular arts, received large quantities of figurines as votive offerings from the sub-Mycenean period until the Hellenistic period. Among those figurines, the representations of musicians carrying stringed instruments in their left hands have a special importance. The instruments carried include the lyra, the kithara, and the barbitos. The figurine corpus, which was mass-produced, reflects an internal stylistic progression. It is believed that the figurines played an important role in the cultic activities of the sanctuary from the second half of the sixth century B.C.E. to the Hellenistic period. The three instruments represented differ from each other by means of their function and physical structure. In this study, the iconographic and stylistic meanings of the figurines will be discussed, the differences of the instruments will be illustrated, and the functions of the figurines in the context of the sanctuary will be examined.

Performing Music in Phoenician and Punic Rituals: A Coroplastic Approach

4Agnès Garcia-Ventura, Beatriu de Pinós Fellow, La Sapienza University in Rome

5Mireia López-Bertran, Beatriu de Pinós/Marie Curie Fellow, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

The aim of the paper is to present and analyze a sample of Phoenician and Punic (seventh-second centuries B.C.E.) terracotta representations of musicians from selected areas of the western Mediterranean (Iberia, Ibiza, and Carthage). The analysis of these depictions consists of three steps. The first step is a description of the instruments represented and the bodily gestures that accompany the practice of performing music with certain instruments. Second, the contextualization of these images within their chronological and geographical framework will be considered in order to shed some light into both the presence of music in rituals and its possible use in association with ritual performances. Finally, the issue of gender will be considered, as these representations are mostly of female figures. The paper will argue that playing music was an empowering activity for certain Phoenician and Punic women.

Rethinking Female Figurines from Rabbath-Ammon and Beyond

6Regine Hunziker-Rodewald, Professor, University of Strasbourg

Among the small finds from the Iron Age II that have been discovered on the citadel of Rabbath-Ammon are fragments of more than 60 female terracotta figurines (Database Franco-German Figurines Project). Twenty-five percent of these mass-produced figurines are represented playing a decorated frame drum. These female musicians, with their large, almond-shaped eyes, are nude or half-nude, have long, curled hair, and most often wear jewelry. When the lower body and the legs are preserved, the figurines’ decorated girdles, as well as their multiple anklets, are visible, the latter supposedly accentuating the rhythm of the drums by a dancing gesture. The pubic region is also strongly emphasized. The female musicians are typologically identical, but their physical appearance and the quality of the clay differ. To the south of the Rabbath-Ammon region (Wadi ath-Thamad, Karak) similar or identical female musicians have been found that were attached on both sides of the entrance of ceramic shrine models. This fact proves the cultic function of these figurines. Their significance is still to be explained, yet it is highly probable that they were linked to the cult of the god El.

Eros Mousikos

7Kyriaki Karoglou Assistant Curator of Greek and Roman Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Departing from two terracotta statuettes in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that represent Eros playing the kithara and the tambourine (MMA 17.230.46 and 06.1069 respectively), this paper will explore the iconography of Eros playing instruments and its possible meanings and ritual functions. Although flying Nikai and Erotes are among the most popular terracottas in the late Classical and Hellenistic period, this particular class of statuettes has not received closer attention. Since most are found in tombs, the paper will examine how the figure of Eros as a musician operates within the general framework of depictions of musical performance and dance in a funerary context.

The Social Roles of Musicians in the Moche World: An Iconographic Analysis of Their Attributes in the Middle Moche Period’s Ritual Pottery

8Daniela La Chioma Silvestre Villalva, doctoral candidate, Department of Archaeology of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, University of São Paulo, Brazil

The Moche inhabited the north coast of Peru during the Andean Early Intermediate period (0–700 C.E.). One of the most distinctive features of Moche ritual pottery is the depiction of highly ranked individuals usually described as priests, warriors, deities, and supernatural beings. They are mainly present on Middle Moche-period vessels (100–400 C.E.), which were probably produced within the context of deep social and political transformation. Supposedly, this was a time marked by the rise in social standing of some of the southern Moche valley’s elites. It was precisely during this period that a large number of musicians, playing a great variety of sound instruments, were recurrently depicted in artifacts such as figurines, whistles, stirrup spout bottles, and jars. Interestingly, in many cases, they appear carrying similar attributes of high status individuals or garments of important supernatural beings. The similarity of the attributes carried by musicians and empowered individuals are easily recognized in the iconography of the ceramic archaeological vessels or in funerary contexts.

Detailed iconographic analysis shows us that the musicians are present in most of the important ritual and political thematic scenes of the Moche iconography. They seem to maintain a very close relationship with the protagonists of the Moche world’s visual narratives, such as the Presentation Theme, the Bicephalus Arch Theme, the Burial Theme, and others. The focus of this presentation is depictions of musicians who play panpipes, drums, and rattles. These images are compared with high-ranking characters depicted in Moche art, in order to identify the instrument players’ respective social roles in Moche society.

The Representation of Musicians in the Archaic Architectural Terracottas from Etruria and Central Italy

9Sara Marandola, independent researcher
Donata Sarracino, La Sapienza University, Rome

This paper will consider the representation of musicians in Etruscan architectural terracottas from sacred buildings, and in particular those of Poggio Civitate (Murlo 580–575 B.C.E.), Tuscania (Ara del Tufo 560–550 B.C.E. and Aquarossa 570–560 B.C.E.), and Tarquinia (560–550 B.C.E.), and further comparisons will be made to those of the Rome-Veio-Velletri decorative system. All these architectural terracottas present a similar iconography: a banquet of reclining banqueters entertained by standing musicians and dancers who face those being entertained. These motifs are associated with clay representations of military themes, such as soldiers standing or on horseback, an iconography that finds its origins in Greek and Near Eastern terracottas from the Orientalizing period (720–580 B.C.E.). These were widely disseminated in the Mediterranean and found fertile ground in Etruria, which became the main recipient of Greek culture in all its different forms in Italy.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the forms and the loci where these representations appeared in Etruscan culture. Through comparisons with paintings found in the associated necropoleis, the prevalent forms in which the theme was diffused will be shown, along with the role of musicians in Etruscan culture, identifying the continuity and the differences in respect to the Greek models. Ultimately, this highlights how the representations of musicians were absorbed by Etruscans in the late Orientalizing period and affirmed in the Archaic period. Yet this will also show how the Etruscans, even with their propensity for the imitation of Greek models, unconsciously made changes to the theme of the musician due to their different cultural background.

Gods, Men, Turtles: Terracotta Lyre-Players in Etruscan Votive Deposits

10Daniele Federico Maras, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University

This paper discusses terracotta figurines of the Hellenistic period representing lyre-players in southern Etruria, with special regard given to the sacred contexts where they were found. At Caere, lyre-players alone or with accompanying auloi-players are at times represented in connection with scenes of sacrifice and goddesses; in these cases the musicians are presumably to be interpreted as human assistants taking part in a ritual context. It is worth noting that according to the classical literary sources the Etruscans accompanied every such activity with music. In other cases, single figures of lyre-players have been interpreted as representations of Apollo. The variant representing a nude youth holding a lyre in his left hand and a pick in his right is widespread in Veii, Falerii (a seated version appears at Santa Marinella), and a less common type wearing a mantle on his hips and a bulla is known at Caere and Vulci. One might wonder whether these figurines always represent the god, or at times show worshippers as musicians, possibly assimilated to Apollo himself. Moreover, other visual sources show that the lyre was also considered a tool for divination in Etruria, fit for mythological prophets. It is therefore possible that in votive contexts such figurines allude to local divinatory practices. Finally, the paper will briefly address the occurrence of terracotta figurines representing turtles in Etruria, often in connection with cults of Apollo, as at Pyrgi and Veii. Scholars usually consider this animal associated with Greek female deities, and in particular Aphrodite. It is more likely, however, that the dedication of terracotta turtles in Etruria alluded to the myth of the invention of the lyre which involved Apollo and Hermes, considering the finding of turtle-shells among votive offerings in Etruscan tombs and sacred places.

Musical Performance, Society and Politics in Early First Millennium BCE Cyprus: Coroplastic and other Visual Evidence

11Manolis Mikrakis, lecturer, National Technical University, Athens

Cyprus is an eastern Mediterranean island with a very distinct historical trajectory between insularity and connectivity, self-sufficiency and cosmopolitanism, continuity and change. Towards the end of the second millennium B.C.E., Cyprus seems to have suffered less from the crisis that swept most other regions in the eastern Mediterranean. Thus, the island retained its centrality in sea-routes and cultural exchange networks, particularly with the West, as well as a high degree of continuity in institutions, economy, and religion. Cypriot musical culture also remained prosperous; coroplastic products dating to the Early Iron Age, in particular, provide rare insights into an early horizon of musical activity in a period when other Mediterranean cultures were experiencing a “Dark Age,” or the initial recovery from it.

The present paper provides an overview of Cypro-Geometric and Cypro-Archaic coroplastic (and other) representations of musical performance, exploring the different types of musicians, musical instruments, playing techniques and contexts of music making. A special focus is placed on the continuities and discontinuities from the Bronze Age, the connections to the contemporary East and West, and the intertwining of musical practices with war, the human body and the supernatural. Overall, Cypriot musical practices are placed in the wider context of strategies for the construction of social identities and the legitimation of political authority in the formative period of the historical kingdoms of Cyprus.

Tympanon and Syrinx: A Musical Metaphor within the System of Ritual Practice and Belief at Metaponto

12Rebecca Miller Ammerman, Professor of The Classics, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York

Nestled in an arbor between clusters of grapes hang a tympanon and a syrinx. Beneath this arc of fruit and musical instruments, a female figure and the goat-god Pan prance together over rocky ground. She holds a cornucopia laden with cakes and produce of the earth. He clasps a volute crater of impressive dimension laden, no doubt, with wine. Why did the artisan include the musical instruments in an image that was to be cast in clay, mechanically, over and over again, in order to provide the residents of Metaponto with affordable terracotta reliefs to serve as votive gifts to the deities whose shrines punctuated the urban and rural landscape of this Italiote city-state in late fourth and early third centuries B.C.E.?

In formulating a response to this question, attention focuses first on the possible significance of the musical instruments within the pictorial narrative of the dancing couple represented in the terracotta plaques and then moves on to an examination of the varied contexts of public and private rite where the plaques were employed by the local population. Consideration is given not only to how the reliefs themselves served as instruments in the performance of a ritual act, but also how their imagery may allude to (1) the performance of other rites and (2) associated mythic narratives within the context of the cults where the plaques served a religious purpose. An investigation of the larger system of ritual acts and underlying myths casts penetrating light on the deeper meaning of the tympanon and syrinx at Metaponto and may better illuminate the local artisan’s motives for fashioning the musical instruments in the midst of a grape arbor that shades a mythic dancing floor.

The Masks of the Dead: Music, Theater, and Burial Customs at Lipara in the Fourth to Third Centuries B.C.E.

13Alessandro Pagliara, Professor, La Sapienza University, Rome

Lipara, the largest of the Aeolian islands, was settled ca. 580 B.C.E. by colonists from Cyprus and Rhodes, and was the last among the Sicilian apoikiai to be founded. Thanks to the work of Luigi Bernabò Brea and Madeleine Cavalier, who extensively surveyed and excavated the island after World War II, this polis has become one of the most studied among the Western Greek colonies, and one of the most important sites for Mediterranean prehistory and protohistory. In addition to significant examples of figured pottery, important findings from the Liparean necropolis at contrada Diana include miniature clay theatrical masks and statuettes directly inspired by theatrical performances. These are unique in the ancient world for their quantity and quality. Among the burial goods from Lipara, the subject matter of the theatrical votive coroplastic objects can often be identified, and in some cases, especially for the tragic masks, linked to a specific drama. This raises important questions about the nature of the theatrical performances that took place in Lipari in the fourth to third centuries B.C.E. Furthermore, the excavations by Bernabò Brea and Cavalier near contrada Diana uncovered the remains of a suburban sanctuary, which they tentatively attributed to Demeter and Kore. The votive pits found there revealed a large number of terracottas related to theater, as well as a large quantity of pottery bearing religious subjects. Among these are many thousands of votive pinakes depicting female figures holding or playing both aulos and tympanon. These pinakes, together with the other terracottas and figured pottery with musical subject from contrada Diana, raise the question of what type of music was performed in the small, but thriving, Doric colony of Lipara, which, as a firm ally of Syracuse and strategically located for control of the straits of Messina, twice resisted attack by the Athenian fleet during the Peloponnesian War.

Musicians and Monkeys: Ancient Near Eastern Clay Plaques Displaying Musicians and their Socio-Cultural Role

14Regine Pruzsinszky, Professor in Assyriology, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg

Considering the importance of music in the ancient Near East, archaeological and textual remains help to visualize the manifold aspects of musical life in both private and public domains, as well as in the secular and religious-cultural realms. Musicians and singers (Sumerian NAR, Akkadian nâru) were in the service of the palace or temple and played an important role in the oral transmission of literary texts, including epics, hymns, or prayers. This paper will address the wide range of the musicians’ social status, including the privileged royal singers, as well as the less privileged musicians of temple households and those living at the fringes of society.

Observations made based on the rich textual evidence of the ancient Near East from the third to the first millennium B.C.E. that will be compared with, and linked to, the information drawn from the archaeological artifacts themselves. This paper will specifically focus on the numerous ancient Near Eastern clay plaques, some of which show musicians together with animals that have been interpreted as an allegory for unprofitable art. Special emphasis will be given to musicians represented as, and together with, monkeys, a topos with a long literary tradition in Mesopotamia that has provoked a number of modern interpretations. The image of the “poor musician” is also reflected in the cuneiform sources drawn from different literary genres, which provide a fascinating insight into the lives of less privileged musicians and singers. Apart from their functional properties in everyday life, this paper will address more closely the social positions of singers in ancient Near Eastern society including their organization and relationship to other professional groups.

The Sistrum on Terracottas: Human Instrument or Divine Attribute?

15Arnaud Saura-Ziegelmeyer, doctoral candidate,, University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès

While many Classical terracotta figurines represent musicians playing idiophones, such as crotals or castanets, the presence of the Greco-Roman sistrum seems very specific. It appears in the coroplastic repertoire as an exclusively divine attribute, never played by a human being, unlike other instruments such as the harp or the aulos. However, archeological data (about 200 objects or amulets) has confirmed that the sistrum, derived from a Pharaonic prototype, was a real and audible item used by individuals in Isiac ceremonies during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

It is of interest to note that no word in ancient Greek or Latin refers to a “sistrum player” as a musician. The latter is more often named as a “sistrum holder.” Yet, is this individual a musician, a priest, or a simple devotee? The coroplastic corpus only presents a specific vision of it in the domestic context—a part of Isis’ image—but it is not sufficient to understand the sistrum as a musical instrument in ancient society.

An exploration of other types of sources is clearly necessary to understand the status of the sistrum player and his perception by Greco-Roman society. Without being a musical instrument per se, the sistrum embodies a dimension of sound that exceeds the simple reproduction of the Goddess’s image. According to iconographic and literary sources, the object seems rather to be understood more as a marker of identity than as a normal instrument.

Poster Session

Terracotta Figurines of Musicians in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens

16Maria Chidiroglou, archaeologist, National Archaeological Museum, Athens

In the National Archaeological Museum in Athens are housed terracotta figurines of musicians from Attica, Euboea, Boeotia, the Aegean islands and various regions in Greece, as well as from sites in western Asia Minor, modern Turkey, such as Myrina and Smyrna. Examples include figurines of Eros and youths with lyres, flutes and cymbals, of Pan with pipes, female figurines with kitharas, tympana and other. They are dated in the late Classical and Hellenistic periods. These figurines can be studied in a number of ways. Their connection to graves or sanctuaries underscores popular religious beliefs and occasionally illustrates stories from myth. Their study also helps us gain insights into the standard types of string, wind, and percussion musical instruments used in all regions in these periods, as well as of garment types often worn by figures of divine musicians, such as Apollo, or mortal ones.

In this poster a first presentation of some figurine types found in central Greece and Asia Minor grouped per site contexts and musical instruments will be attempted with the purpose of gaining information on aspects of music as performed and enjoyed by the ancients, especially as part of cultic and communal activities. Excavation and site information will be supplied, where available, to help distinguish types of figurines found in graves, sanctuaries or domestic spaces. A final part of the presentation will focus on aspects of music education in antiquity. This subject is illustrated, among other instances, by a number of terracotta figurine groups of the National Archaeological Museum that were found in graves in Euboea and other Greek sites. As a whole this presentation aims at a first selective examination of terracotta figurine types of musicians found in central Greece and parts of Asia Minor that are dated from the late fourth to the first century B.C.E.

Tortoise Shell Lyres from Gordion: The Domestic Context of Music and Ritual in Seventh-Century Phrygia

17Sam Holzman, doctoral candidate, University of Pennsylvania

The Phrygians, a people who flourished in central Anatolia during the first millennium B.C.E. had one of the richest and most influential musical cultures in antiquity. Despite the significance of Phrygian music, it is known almost entirely through Greek and Roman texts and iconography, which give the impression that the aulos was preferred to such an extent that stringed instruments were excluded. The archaeological discovery of tortoise shell lyres in a house from the first quarter of the seventh century B.C.E. at the Phrygian capital Gordion clarifies the sound and instrumentation of music in Phrygia. Stone figurines in related contexts prompt the further conclusion that lyres accompanied domestic worship of the goddess Matar, the Phrygian predecessor of Cybele. More finds of lyre fragments in residential zones of the site suggest that the household was a key environment for musical development in Phrygia. In comparison to the common mold-made figurine type of Cybele with a tympanum, which is known from a house at Gordion during the Hellenistic period, we may infer some continuity of domestic music ritual for Cybele at Gordion despite changes in instrumentation and the materiality of figurines over a 500-year period. 

Terracottas with Representations of Musicians from Adranon (Sicily)

18Gioconda Lamagna, Director of the Regional Archaeological Museum Paolo Orsi at Syracuse

Within the rich and diversified coroplastic production of Adranon (the ancient city in the Simeto valley founded by Dionysius the Elder from Syracuse, according to the historical tradition), are a number of figurines with representations of musicians dating to between the fourth and the beginning of the third centuries B.C.E., now housed in the local regional museum. These are statuettes featuring a woman playing the aulos or tympanon, as well as small pinakes with three standing figures, often interpreted as nymphs, also portrayed in the act of playing an instrument. The circumstances of the discovery of a number of these terracottas remain unknown. Their assumed origin from the ancient town of Adranon is likely but not certain. There is only one pinax coming from a sufficiently documented context. It was part of a votive deposit related to the cult of Demeter and Kore found, between December 1913 and January 1914, in the courtyard of the former Monastery of Jesus and Mary near the main square of the modern town. This pinax is now in the Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum in Syracuse. Finally, another related group of terracottas comes from excavations carried out in recent decades in the area of the ancient settlement itself. This set of materials provides the most interesting information towards a proper contextualization of the terracottas as a whole.

This poster is therefore aimed at updating scholarship on the Adranon terracotta corpus, presenting some unpublished samples coming from the excavations of 1995. At the same time, analyzing the known and supposed contexts of discovery, one can establish the possible relationships between this class of terracotta figurines and the cults practiced at ancient Adranon.

Grotesque, Burlesque and Obscene Features in Greek Clay: Figurines of Musicians and Dancers

19Lucia Lepore, Former Senior Research Fellow and Aggregate Professor at the University of Florence

During the archaeological campaigns conducted by the University of Florence at the site of the Achaean colony of Kaulonia, a terracotta mold was found under a collapsed house of the Classical period. It depicts a nude, bald, and rather grotesque character with a slender figure, highly emphasized genitalia, and a semi-open mouth. The figure holds a plectrum in his right hand and a kithara in his left. The subject finds interesting comparison in a few examples dating between the fifth and the fourth centuries B.C.E. from the Kabirion of Thebes, but also from Attica, as well as Locris and other Boeotian centers. These figures, which have strong magical and propitiatory connotations, have significant links to Hellenistic representations of similar caricatured grotesques with obscene features of a broader and more complex meaning.

Cybele, Dionysus and the Tympanum: The Role of Musicians in Ecstasy

20Aura Piccioni, doctoral candidate, Institute of Classical Archaeology, Regensburg University

A type of clay figurine from Taranto represents a standing woman who holds a tympanum in her hand. This iconography may be interpreted as a female musician, similar to those who, playing the tympanum, the aulos, or the cymbals, took part in the rites honoring the goddess Cybele that were widespread in ancient Italy. According to the myth, it was Dionysus himself who invented this musical instrument, in order to produce ecstasy in those who danced at its rhythm. The tympanum was used along with the cymbals in the cult of the Magna Mater. Important attestations come from the sanctuary of Bitalemi at Gela, from that of Malophoros, at Selinunte, and from the Palatine. The cult of Cybele was likely present also at Elea. To understand the importance of the tympanum in these rites, the ancient literary sources are helpful, as is Catullus (Carmina docta, 63). It appears that both tympanum and cymbals were instrumental in giving a Dionysian character to these rites. In particular, the Hellenistic clay figurines attest that the words of ancient authors are correct in stating that the tympanum was the “instrument of ecstasy” par excellence.

Top of page


Electronic reference

« Representations of Musicians in the Coroplastic Art of the Ancient World: Iconography, Ritual Contexts, and Functions », Les Carnets de l’ACoSt [Online], 13 | 2015, Online since 01 September 2015, connection on 16 December 2017. URL :

Top of page


Licence Creative Commons
Les Carnets de l'ACoSt est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

Top of page
  • Logo Association for Coroplastic Studies
  • OpenEdition Journals