A Cypriot hodegetria: the creation, interpretation, and significance of a plaster relief from Kopetra
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Excavations at a church in the village of Kalavasos-Kopetra in southern Cyprus revealed a small plaster relief of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus while gesturing in the Hodegetria manner. The sculpture dates to the fifth to seventh centuries. The use of stucco for figural imagery and the composition of the relief raise questions about the use of stucco and sculpture in ecclesiastical settings, as well as the spread and creation of new iconographic forms during this time period. Additionally, the Kopetra relief's reuse as construction material raises questions about the relief's original placement and function. The potential function as a moveable icon for veneration or as part of a chancel barrier illustrates the development of the early templon into the later Byzantine iconostasis. Overall, the Kopetra relief reveals the use of sculpture to spread ideas through images and the development of Christian iconography and architecture into its later Byzantine forms.
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