Incense Burner Supported by Nike
This small sculpture of the goddess Nike was carved more than 2,500 years ago. On top of Nike's head is an egg-shaped container for burning incense. Diamond-shaped holes were cut in the lid to allow the smoke of the burning incense to escape. Ancient Greek artists frequently turned practical objects such as incense burners into beautiful works of art.

This image of Nike is a very specific type of figure. It is called a kore. This means "young girl" in Greek. Figures in kore statues usually stand up straight with one foot slightly in front of the other. Sometimes they are shown with arms held close to their sides; other times, as with this Nike figure, they appear with one arm extended and the other lowered, pulling their skirts to one side.

Nike was the winged goddess of victory. Athletes who wanted to win worshipped her. Even today, she has some significance to athletes. If you look carefully you may notice a striking similarity between Nike's wings and a famous swoosh symbol found on sneakers.

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