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Abstract – Interpreting the VMFA’s Düver Terracottas

In 1978, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquired a set of 15 terracotta panels found in Düver in the mid 60s. These pieces are labeled in the museum catalog simply as Phrygian in origin. However, these pieces display a variety of fabric colors that hint at a more international nature to their construction. This international and multicultural design is followed through the appearances of the various relief figures on the tiles and the different styles of painting upon the tiles. Sadarananda posits that the this mixture of style is result of cultural transfer of not only Phrygian influence, but also Lydian, Lycian, and Achaemenid Persian styles into the central Anatolian region of Pisidia. Given the imagery of the pieces, Sadarananda conjectures that these pieces formed a symbolic sequence along a temple or palatial facade as symbolic of connection to divinity and/or aristocracy. Furthermore, this multitude of styles attests to a community of artists who exercised a great deal of freedom in their choice of how to present the same figures given a wide range of symbols to choose from.

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