Description of the Collection of Ancient Marbles in the British Museum; with engravings. Part IX. London: Printed by W. Nicol, 60, Pall-Mall. Sold at the British Museum; by Longman And Co.; Payne and Foss; and W. Pickering. 1842. Disegni di Henry Corbould

Plate VI. Canephora. [Height 7 ft. 7½ in. Old No. A 42. New No. 128.]

Canephora, in Ancient Marbles..., London 1842

Canephora, in Ancient Marbles…, London 1842

In this plate is represented one of the six female figures which served, instead of columns, to support the southern Portico of the temple of Pandrosos, which was situated to the north of the Parthenon, on the Acropolis of Athens. Such figures have been usually called Caryatides, in consequence of a statement made by Vitruvius, that the Greeks frequently employed, instead of columns, statues of captives made in war, or of the enslaved wives of citizens from refractory or treacherous districts of their commonwealths.

Carya, a city of Arcadia, was charged, as he relates, with having betrayed the Grecian cause to the Persians, and the captive females of that place were represented in the supports of some buildings, from which circumstance such figures received their name. A remarkable inscription in the British Museum, Room XL No. 53, mentioning these figures, merely calls them damsels; their dress is not that of captives, and Visconti, therefore, considers that they represent Athenian virgins, bearing on their heads the sacred vases for the ceremonies of the sacrifice.

This conjecture is much strengthened by a comparison of these figures with those of the females whom we see in the frieze of the Parthenon, carrying various objects used in the sacred ceremonies of the temple during the celebration of the Panathenaic festival. […]