III.B.5. Head of a terracotta figurine of a goddess with raised arms, from the Athenaion on the Timpone della Motta
This remarkable head resembles the head of a terracotta figurine looted from the Timpone della Motta that is now in the Ny Carlsberg Museum at Copenhagen (I.N. 3502, height 24.7cm). This complete figurine shows a goddess with raised arms rendered in a stiffly frontal pose and standing on a large rectangular base.
The Copenhagen goddess, and this head and a skirt fragment from the Scavi Kleibrink show that a coroplast at the Athenaion during the first decades of the 7th c. BC produced several of these handmade and expressive figurines.
The eyes of the Ny Carlsberg figurine are angular and slanted while the ones on the Scavi Kleibrink head are more almond-shaped and straight. The lips are placed too close to each other and to the nose. A diadem is engraved in the hair, but the raised rim of hair that is visible on the Copenhagen figurine is missing here.
Stylistic details like the thin arms, the large protruding breasts and the upward tilting head betray the influence of the terracotta’s from the Greek island of Samos, and perhaps the coroplast learned his trade in the Samian Hera sanctuary.
The raised arms of the goddess, however, belong to the local tradition of Francavilla Marittima (cf.terracottas III.B.1, III.B.2., III.B.3.; pots V.A.8., ////), and the decoration on the skirt fragment from the Scavi Kleibrink is also local.
The large base underneath the Copenhagen figurine indicates that it was inspired by an existing cult statue. The terracotta figurines are contemporary with Temple V.c on the Timpone della Motta, which had a long rectangular cella in which a statue with raised arms may have stood.
The original cult statue may have been of wood and dressed in woven garments, which would explain the stiff texture suggested by the skirt fragment of the Copenhagen terracotta and the patterns on the Scavi Kleibrink skirt.
The head and the skirt fragment were found during the Scavi Kleibrink 1991-2004 in the South Fill of the Temple Plateau, context numbers AC26.19.tc10 and AC17A.20.tc01. They are now in the National Archaeological Museum at Sibari.