New Photographs Reveal Colors of 2,400-Year-Old Sculpture

News July 13, 2021

(Pedro Saura)
Spain Lady of Baza
(Pedro Saura)

MADRID, SPAIN—El País reports that Teresa Chapa Brunet and Pedro Saura of Complutense University of Madrid and their colleagues used photographic filters to eliminate nearly 100 percent of reflected light in new digital images of the so-called Lady of Baza, a 2,400-year-old painted sculpture of a seated woman unearthed in southern Spain in the 1970s, along with weapons and other burial goods. The statue is thought to be a portrait of an actual wealthy Bastetani woman. The new photographs allowed the researchers a better look at the statue’s pigments, which quickly faded when the artifact was removed from the earth. Brunet said that the sculpture’s face and hands had been colored with nuanced skin tones, while the coloring given her cloak and tunic may reflect the colors worn by the Bastetani woman. The light and dark colors in her chair may reflect different slats of wood or the way the woman’s furniture had been painted, Brunet added. The researchers also got a better look at the long string of beads hanging from the pendants worn by the Lady of Baza. “We wonder if it might be a traditional formula for personal protection, reinforcing the talismanic action of the Lady’s necklaces,” said Brunet. To read about faux amber beads from Bronze Age Spain, go to "Artifact."

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