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Mirror Handle

September 12, 2013

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This is a beautiful ivory mirror handle that dates to the 13th Century B.C. The handle was discovered in a tomb near old Paphos without the bronze plate that would have formed the mirror.

The scene is of a man fighting a lion; a representation associated with Heracles fight with the Nemean Lion. Heracles first labour ordered by King Eurystheus was to bring him the skin of the Nemean Lion; a task he believed was impossible. The lion’s skin could not be pierced by Heracles’ arrows, so instead he overcame the beast by choking it to death. The existence of the mirror handle suggests that the myth of Heracles’ and the Nemean Lion may have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and subsequently adopted by the Greeks.

The entire piece is extremely well carved, both sides of the the handle are decorated with the same fighting motif. The lower section is adorned with intricate leaves and lines.  This is a key piece in demonstrating the development of ivory carving on the island.

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From → Artefacts

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