Religious Worship

Human figurine

Human figurine, handmade ceramic
Middle Cypriot 1-II (ca 2000-1800 BC)
Cyprus Museum, Nicosia

The Bull

Settlers from Anatolia reintroduced domestic cattle to Cyprus at the beginning of the Bronze Age, about 2300 BC. (Early settlers had brought cattle to Cyprus about 8500 BC, but those herds had died off long ago.) Now cattle assumed great importance in the economic and ritual life of the island. The bull became a symbol of divine power and is frequently depicted in ritual vessels and figurines.

Plank Figures

A new type of religious image appeared on Cyprus in the Early Bronze Age: plank-shaped clay figures, usually female, sometimes carrying an infant. Incised lines indicate clothing and jewelry, and the ears are often pierced for earrings.

Unique to Cyprus, these figures are images of a mother goddess, symbol of fertility and life. Some scholars think they may be miniature versions of large wooden idols, and they may represent a blending of the religious beliefs of Anatolian settlers and the island's earlier inhabitants.