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Swirls of Activity

We’re getting in more sightseeing in the Paphos area. (Nothing like an imminent departure to accelerate our movements!)

On our way to the Paphos Archeological Museum, we stopped off to visit this bust of Archbishop Makarios, an imposing sculpture facing onto an intersection in a busy part of town.

Makarios was a mighty interesting fellow—he was a Cypriot clergyman and politician who served both as the archbishop of the Church of Cyprus and as the first president of Cyprus. In his three terms (17 years) as president he survived four assassination attempts and a coup d'état. He is widely regarded by Greek Cypriots as the Father of the Nation, and died in 1977. I won’t immerse you in all the steamy politics he guided Cyprus through to become an independent nation, but following is the link to a Wikipedia article about him:

The Paphos Archeological Museum is situated just a little ways up the street from Makarios, and it is a charming, wonderful venue, which happens to feature free admission. It is laid out chronologically, so one starts with the Epipalaeolithic (10500–9000 BC) and Neolithic (9000–3900 BC) periods, followed by the Chalcolithic period (3900–2500 BC).

We were utterly fascinated by the picrolite cruciform figurines we encountered, which have become emblematic of Cyprus, and one such image was used as their insignia for the Olympic games. The grandest lady of them all has been nicknamed the “Lady of Lemba” and she is dated from 3500 BC and stands 36 inches in height. Her real purpose is unknown but it may have been a fertility statue or a representation of a goddess whose name has been lost to time.

As can be seen, the length of the neck and shape of the head has clear phallic similarities, perhaps suggesting male fertility. It has been argued that the very concept of cruciform figures with elongated necks could represent an attempt at harmonizing, or at least incorporating, the sexual characteristics of males and females, resulting in an androgynous figure.

This particular statue has some extraordinary superstition associated with it. It is better known for the mysterious and deadly (documented) effects it has on its owners, rather than its archeological significance. Since its initial discovery in 1878 at the bottom of a Chalcolithic mass burial, the statue has left devastation in its wake.

The grim legend surrounding the artifact earned it the nickname, “The Goddess of Death.” The statue has belonged to at least four different families and each suffered a great amount of tragedy after possessing the piece.

Lord Elphont was the first owner, who acquired it during the British colonial occupation of Cyprus. After buying the statue, he and six other family members died within six years of obtaining the relic. A merchant entrusted with the task of selling art and artifacts from the Elphont collection approached several wealthy collectors, none of whom were interested in the statue. The figurine traveled westward across Europe after being purchased by a man named Ivor Manucci, whose family fared even worse than Elphont’s: all of them were dead within four years of the Goddess’s arrival.

The statue’s third owner, Lord Thompson-Noel, and his entire immediate family perished within four years. With the death of Thompson-Noel’s lineage, the statue vanished, reappearing in Sir Alan Biverbrook’s private collection. He, his wife, and their two daughters succumbed to various illnesses and accidents in less than two years.

Before the apparently cursed artifact could finish its dark work, Biverbrook’s two surviving sons donated the statue to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland. A museum curator who handled the artifact was murdered four days after receiving the object. The case has yet to be solved.

Now safely protected behind museum glass, one wonders whether the glass shields the statue from those unable to resist the urge to touch the artifact or to contain the mysterious curse that impacts all who have come into contact with it. It seems doubtful that we will ever know.

After the Chalcolithic period, the museum then moves through additional periods, including the Early and Middle Bronze Age (2500–1650 BC), the Late Bronze Age (1650–1050 BC), the Iron Age (1050–310 BC), and the Hellenistic period. By this point, the city of Nea Pafos was founded (4th century BC), which became the new financial and administrative center of the island and functioned as one of the largest ports of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The wealth of the area seems evident in the works of art that decorated its luxurious homes, including marble statues of Aphrodite and other mythological figures that have been found in both public and private buildings.

The prize possession of the museum appears to be this statue of Aphrodite:

Robin was fascinated by the various metal medical instruments from the Roman period that were found in tombs of doctors or surgeons—especially the clay hot water bottles in the shape of parts of the human body, used for therapeutic purposes.

I was more enamored by their collection of theatrical masks from the second century A.D. (I’m a former theatre major, remember?) The spectrum of expressions and variety of facial shapes charm me enormously.

After departing the museum, we felt obliged to visit the location where the Lady of Lemba was found, which is an archeological site known as the Lemba Chalcolithic Village.

This is considered to be one of the oldest and most intact sites containing the foundations of circular dwellings built by early inhabitants of the island. In an effort to understand life in that era, a project was implemented to create replicas of these ancient houses using materials and techniques from that era. In all, seven huts were built with stone and earthen walls, with bamboo roofs supported on wooden beams. Five of the huts were then deliberately destroyed using techniques to simulate earthquake, fire, and flood in order that archeologists might better understand the placement and condition of the artifacts they found in the original site.

It appears the inhabitants of this particular cluster of huts were mainly women and children, leading to the hypothesis that it was perhaps a maternity hospital of sorts—a place where women could come to give birth in comfort and safety, surrounded by midwives. This happens to be where the Lady of Lemba (the “Goddess of Death”) statue was found, along with many other icons representing pregnant femininity.

In little more than a week I will present a virtual session at the conference for the Association for Psychological Type International (APTi) on the topic of “Jung, Art, and Typology.” My session concerns the way Jung overtly linked typology to artwork, both in his own creations as well as the creations of his patients. A few hypotheses have been put forward since Jung’s time about how to “type” works of art, and a large collection of patient artwork is archived in the Jung Institute of Zurich since Jung and his followers are keen to uncover the typological qualities that can be detected in artwork as generated by the unconscious via dreams or active imagination. My presentation will share some of the ways in which artwork may be understood typologically and also provides some experiential practice at “typing” artwork.

I’m especially excited about this conference since I will be in the company of two of my most influential mentors: John Beebe and Linda Berens. John Beebe in particular has been my guiding angel for the past decade and a half, and it is a tremendous honor to be featured on the agenda with him.

I’ll be shooting a promo video about my session in the next few days, and I’ll be sure to distribute the link. It promises to be an interesting conference—the first one in a long time since the previous conference was clobbered by COVID. Perhaps I’ll see you there….? Click here to read more about it and register for the conference:

Max reviewed my research and submissions for the conference and he approves! (He’s become quite the proofreader.)

Lucy’s just happy to snuggle on the magickal polka-dotted bathrobe she loves so much, but I know she’s cheering for me.

I’ll talk to you again in a week.

warmly, -Dr. Vicky Jo

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