The Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major political and cultural power in ancient Iran and Iraq. Parthian art has a rich art heritage and encompassed a variety of media including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and sculpture. The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it eventually saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions.
This statuette is a wonderful example of the polychromy that defined Greek sculpture. Traces of paint left on an artefact are usually too small to be detected by the human eye, and so require technology to be discerned. In this instance, however, the polychromy is clear, making the statuette an excellent and rare insight into how Greek statuary was intended to look, and offers indication as to what this statuette would have looked in its original form.
To find out more about polychromy in ancient art, please refer to our relevant article: Polychromy in Ancient Greece