The J. Paul Getty Museum

Grave Naiskos of Apollonia

Object Details


Grave Naiskos of Apollonia






Greece (Place Created)


about 100 B.C.


Marble with polychromy

Object Number:



112.4 × 63.5 × 20 cm, 308.4 kg (44 1/4 × 25 × 7 7/8 in., 680 lb.)

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Object Description

A young girl stands inside a naiskos or shallow three-sided structure on this Athenian grave monument. The inscription carved above her head identifies her as Apollonia, the daughter of Aristandros and Thebageneia. She holds a pomegranate and reaches up to stroke a dove perched on a tall pillar. The pomegranate had a long history as a funerary symbol for the Greeks. In mythology, after being kidnapped by Hades, Persephone had to remain in the underworld for part of the year because she had consumed a pomegranate seed. Birds frequently appear with little girls in funerary sculpture, possibly only as a sentimental reference to a favorite pet, or perhaps with a deeper symbolic meaning related to the correlation of the soul with a bird in Greek thought. Apollonia wears a high-girt dress, a cloak over one shoulder, and platform sandals. These fashions indicate that the monument dates to about 100 B.C. Originally, the carving would have been enlivened by paint; traces of red remain on the sandals.

The bottom of the naiskos under Apollonia's feet was left rough because it would have been embedded in a base. The four holes at the top of the naiskos, one of which still holds part of an iron peg, would have been used to hang funerary wreaths on the monument.

- 1974

K. J. Hewett, British, 1919 - 1994 (Bogg Farm, Ashford, Kent, England), sold to Robin Symes, 1974.


Robin Symes, Limited (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1974.

Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past (August 23, 2003 to December 5, 2004)
  • Hood Museum of Art (Hanover), August 23 to December 14, 2003
  • Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati), May 21 to August 1, 2004
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 14 to December 5, 2004

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