Archaeologists in Turkey have discovered a 2,400-year-old terra cotta mask of the Greek god Dionysus. The mask, believed to have been a votive offering to the deity, was found almost intact at the acropolis of the ancient city of Daskyleion in western Turkey.
The discovery was made by a team of archaeologists from Mugla SK University in western Turkey, led by Professor Kaan Iren. Their unique find grabbed headlines around the world.
“Excavations at Daskyleion are 32 years old, and this is the first time that we unearthed a mask which is nearly intact,” Iren told Hyperallergic in an email.
Iren believes that the mask was offered to Dionysus during rituals related to winemaking. “It presumably belongs to the end of the 4th-century BCE,” he added.
Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine in Greek mythology, was also known as the “masked” god of theater and a patron of arts. In myth, wearing a Dionysus mask was believed to elevate oneself to a state of uninhibited ecstasy.
Located about 20 miles inland from the coast of the Sea of Marmara, Daskyleion was first established around the time of the Trojan War. It was settled by the Phrygians in the 8th century BCE and was conquered by the Lydians 100 years later. The city is believed to have been named after the Lydian King Daskylos.
“The peak time of the city was when it became a satrapal (administrative) center of the Persian Empire in 546 BCE,” Iren continued. “After the arrival of the Macedonians under the leadership of Alexander the Great (334 BCE), the city started to be ‘Hellenized.’”
Remains of Daskyleion were first discovered in 1952. Excavations ran from 1954 to 1960 and resumed again in 1988, and have been ongoing ever since.
“Daskyleion was a multicultural city,” Iren said. “Mysians, Phrygians, Lydians, and Persians were living peacefully together in this city. Earliest finds go back to the 3rd Millenium BCE.”
Earlier this year, Iren’s team unearthed a cellar beneath a Lydian kitchen in the city’s acropolis.
“Every season, archaeologists unearth a lot of interesting artifacts of those different ethnicities,” the archaeologist added.
Bobby Wilson Combats Indigenous Stereotypes Through Humor
The artist-performer’s career undulates, ever so gracefully, across multiple mediums and registers of generational pain, healing laughter, and Indigenous joy.
Rare 19th-Century Silhouette Album’s Secrets Unlocked
Traveling portrait artist William Bache’s album depicts famous figures like Thomas Jefferson as well as people whose identity was previously unknown.
Nevada Museum of Art Presents Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity
For the first time in nearly 60 years, the innovative yet under-recognized artist is the subject of a retrospective exhibition. On view in Reno, Nevada.
Artists Show What They Can Do With a Google Phone’s Camera
Works by 20 photographers are now on view in Manhattan for the seventh season and 100th project coming out of the Google Creator Labs.
Met Museum Kicked Me Out for Praying to My Ancestral Gods
My danced prayer to looted Cambodian antiquities was too much for the New York museum.
The Public Theater in NYC Presents Plays for the Plague Year
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s theatrical concert chronicles the 2020 lockdown and the hope and perseverance that emerged from it.
A Museum Guard’s Ode to the Healing Power of Art
In All the Beauty in the World, Patrick Bringley revisits the many ways that art meets life, and life art, and how death is often the bridge between them.
UK Extends Export Ban on Coveted “Portrait of Omai”
London’s National Portrait Gallery was given a few months to acquire the work, which depicts the first Polynesian visitor to the UK.
Mondays at Pratt Institute: Weekly Openings of Work by Graduating Artists
Free and open to the public, Pratt Shows celebrate the school’s graduating students. MFA and BFA work on view this spring in Brooklyn, New York.
The Sculptor Making Art With Loved Ones’ Ashes
Inspired by the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julian Stair’s exhibition honors the lives of eight people with cinerary jars.
Art Institute of Chicago Under Scrutiny Over Sacred Nepali Necklace
The 17th-century object remains on display at the Chicago museum despite Nepal’s calls for repatriation.
LSU School of Art Grants Highest MFA Stipends in the Southern US
With funded assistantships, full tuition waivers, and generous stipends, Louisiana State University helps students lay the groundwork for a successful lifelong art practice.
Art Problems: How Do I Get a Public Art Commission?
Want to leave a mark on your city or town, but don’t know where to start? Paddy Johnson has some tips.
Rose B. Simpson Embeds Ancestral Histories in Clay
She has taken clay and used it to recall its ancestral roots in Pueblo culture and address the present history of postcolonial recovery and ongoing trauma.
“last year, archaeologists uncovered an ancient cellar in a kitchen in Daskyleion”
there are a couple of things wrong with this sentence
What a beautiful mask!! So precious!
Comments are closed.