Some 300 hellenistic statuettes of seated children (dated c. 3th century BC) have been found in sanctuaries on Cyprus. The great majority depict boys about two years old, usually seated with one leg bent, and shown nude or wearing a short tunic that allows the genitalia to be seen. Many are bedecked with earrings, finger rings, and pendant amulets across the chest. The significance of these seated children is not known, although they are conventionally referred to as ‘temple boys’ in scholarly literature. It has been suggested that they represent children consecrated as servants to a divinity, a custom well attested in Eastern civilizations. More likely, however, they were votive statuettes, placed in temples to mark a rite of passage in a boy's life and to secure for him divine protection.
Correspondent: J.M.Criel, Antwerpen.
Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) .