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Iberian sculpture, a subset of Iberian art, describes the various sculptural styles developed by the Iberians  from the Bronze Age up to the Roman conquest. For this reason it is sometimes described as Pre-Roman Iberian sculpture.
Almost all extant works of Iberian sculpture visibly reflect Greek and Phoenician influences, and Assyrian, Hittite and Egyptian influences from which those derived (specially the Phoenician one); yet they have their own unique character. Within this complex stylistic heritage, individual works can be placed within a spectrum of influences- some of more obvious Phoenician derivation, and some so similar to Greek works that they could have been directly imported from that region. Overall the degree of influence is correlated to the work's region of origin, and hence they are classified into groups on that basis.
The sculptures that comprise the Levantine group were mostly made between the 5th century B.C. and the period of Roman domination; this group is best represented in museum collections. The most famous among them is the bust known as The Lady of Elche , which displays evident Greek influence. Works in this style number over 670; though there are stylistic differences, which testify to the successive influences of conquering peoples.
More visibly oriental references, possibly influenced by the Egyptian sphinx and the Assyrian Lamassu, are evident in the various stone sculptures in the form of sphinxes, bulls, or lions found in the area of Valencia, Alicante, and Albacete. They include:
The numerous statues of bronze (some of silver) found in two places of the region of Sierra Morena in the province of Jaén can be considered to be more indigenous derivatives of the initial, Greek and oriental- influenced, Levantine sculptural style.
In the period between the 5th century BC and the 5th century AD, sanctuaries like Montealegre used small bronze castings, rather than stone carvings, as votive offerings. These sculptures were cast from earthen molds in molten bronze in the technique of lost wax casting, but since the mold was rendered useless after only one casting, two identical works have yet to be found amongst these sculptures. Approximately 4,000 sculptures in this style have been excavated, depicting Iberian warriors, riders, religious celebrants, small horses, and body parts.
A great deal of Greek and Punic statues and busts in Terra cotta, together with various amulets in ivory, metal or carved of thin stone, have been uncovered at the necropolis of Ibiza, La Palma, and Formentera. The oldest have been dated to the 8th century B.C., and they most likely continued to be made up to the Roman domination. These include:
Pieces also considered to be of Phoenician or Punic origin but with Greek influence include the bronze heads of bulls (probably votive offerings) found in Majorca. A very early Phoenician piece from Galera depicts a seated female, perhaps Astarte, flanked by sphinxes.
The southern group is principally composed of sculptures found in sepulchers, and other funeral monuments, in the Andalusian region. Most of them display heavy Phoenician influence. They are as follows:
The western group is composed of granite funeral stelae from Portugal and Galicia that represent foot soldiers dressed in tunics and armed with round shields. These sculptures are relatively coarsely worked. Some of them bear Roman inscriptions, which were probably added long after the figures were carved.
In the center of the Peninsula, between the rivers Douro and Tagus there are many granite sculptures roughly carved in the form of bulls, or perhaps some other animal. Some of these also have Roman inscriptions, which again were probably added later. The most famous of these monuments are the four known as the Bulls of Guisando . Archeologists[ who? ] consider them to be works of the same culture that carved the sphinxes of the Levantine region.[ citation needed ]
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. Sculpture is the three-dimensional art work which is physically presented in the dimensions of height, width and depth. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving and modelling, in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or moulded or cast.
Tartessos or Tartessus, was a semi-mythical harbor city and the surrounding culture on the south coast of the Iberian Peninsula, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. It appears in sources from Greece and the Near East starting during the first millennium BC. Herodotus, for example, describes it as beyond the Pillars of Heracles. Roman authors tend to echo the earlier Greek sources but from around the end of the millennium there are indications that the name Tartessos had fallen out of use and the city may have been lost to flooding, though several authors attempt to identify it with cities of other names in the area. Archaeological discoveries in the region have built up a picture of a more widespread culture, identified as Tartessian, that includes some 97 inscriptions in a Tartessian language.
The Iberians were an ancient civilization settled in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula, at least from the 6th century BC. They are described in Greek and Roman sources. Roman sources also use the term Hispani to refer to the Iberians.
The Lady of Elx or Lady of Elche is a limestone bust that was discovered in 1897, at La Alcudia, an archaeological site on a private estate two kilometers south of Elche, Spain. It is currently exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid.
The Punic language, also called Phoenicio-Punic or Carthaginian, is an extinct variety of the Phoenician language, a Canaanite language of the Northwest Semitic branch of the Semitic languages. An offshoot of the Phoenician of coastal West Asia, it was principally spoken on the Mediterranean coast of Northwest Africa, and the Iberian peninsula and several Mediterranean islands such as Malta, Sicily and Sardinia by the Punic people/Phoenicians throughout Classical antiquity, from the 8th century BCE to the 6th century CE.
The Iberian scripts are the Paleohispanic scripts that were used to represent the extinct Iberian language. Most of them are typologically unusual in that they are semi-syllabic rather than purely alphabetic. The oldest Iberian inscriptions date to the 4th or possibly the 5th century BCE, and the latest from end of the 1st century BCE or possibly the beginning of the 1st century CE.
The National Archaeological Museum is a museum in Madrid, Spain. It is located on Calle de Serrano beside the Plaza de Colón, sharing its building with the National Library of Spain.
In the Archaic phase of ancient Greek art, the Orientalizing period or Orientalizing revolution is the cultural and art historical period that began during the later part of the 8th century BC, when there was a heavy influence from the more advanced art of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ancient Near East. The main sources were Syria and Assyria as well as Phoenicia and Egypt. With the spread of Phoenician civilization by Carthage and Greek colonisation into the Western Mediterranean, these artistic trends also influenced the Etruscans and early Ancient Romans in the Italian peninsula.
The Punic people, or western Phoenicians, were a Semitic people in the Western Mediterranean who migrated from Canaan to North Africa during the Early Iron Age. In modern scholarship, the term Punic – the Latin equivalent of the Greek-derived term Phoenician – is exclusively used to refer to Phoenicians in the western Mediterranean, following the line of the Greek East and Latin West.
The prehistory of the Iberian Peninsula begins with the arrival of the first hominins 1.2 million years ago and ends with the Punic Wars, when the territory enters the domains of written history. In this long period, some of its most significant landmarks were to host the last stand of the Neanderthal people, to develop some of the most impressive Paleolithic art, alongside Southern France, to be the seat of the earliest civilizations of Western Europe and finally to become a most desired colonial objective due to its strategic position and its many mineral riches.
The southeastern Iberian script, also known as Meridional Iberian, was one of the means of written expression of the Iberian language, which was written mainly in the northeastern Iberian script and residually by the Greco-Iberian alphabet. About the relation between northeastern Iberian and southeastern Iberian scripts, it is necessary to point out that they are two different scripts with different values for the same signs; however it is clear that they had a common origin and the most accepted hypothesis is that northeastern Iberian script derives from southeastern Iberian script. In fact, the southeastern Iberian script is very similar, both considering the shape of the signs or their values, to the Southwestern script used to represent an unknown language usually named Tartessian. The main difference is that southeastern Iberian script does not show the vocalic redundancy of the syllabic signs. Unlike the northeastern Iberian script the decipherment of the southeastern Iberian script is not yet complete, because there are a significant number of signs on which scholars have not yet reached a consensus. Although it is believed that the southeastern Iberian script does not show any system to differentiate between voiced and unvoiced occlusives, unlike the northeastern Iberian script, a recent paper defends the existence of a dual system also in the southeastern Iberian script.
The Carthaginian presence in Iberia, which included a large but short lived empire near its end, lasted until 206 BC when the Carthaginians were defeated by the Roman Republic at the Battle of Ilipa in the Second Punic War.
The Bicha of Balazote is an Iberian sculpture that was found in the borough of Balazote in Albacete province, Spain. Carlos Fuentes has called it the "Beast of Balazote." The sculpture has been dated to the 6th century BCE, and has been in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid, since 1910.
Lady of Galera is an alabaster female figurine, made in the 7th century BC, that probably represents the Near Eastern goddess Astarte. It is at the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, in Madrid.
Carthage was a settlement in modern Tunisia that later became a city-state and then an empire. Founded by the Phoenicians in the ninth century BC, it was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC, who later rebuilt the city lavishly. At its height in the fourth century BC, Carthage was one of the largest metropolises in the world, and the centre of the Carthaginian Empire, a major power in the ancient world that dominated the western Mediterranean.
The culture of the ancient Phoenicians was one of the first to have had a significant effect on the history of wine. Phoenicia was a civilization centered in current day Lebanon. Between 1550 BC and 300 BC, the Phoenicians developed a maritime trading culture that expanded their influence from the Levant to North Africa, the Greek Isles, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula. Through contact and trade, they spread not only their alphabet but also their knowledge of viticulture and winemaking, including the propagation of several ancestral varieties of the Vitis vinifera species of wine grapes.
Galera is a municipality in the comarca of Huéscar, province of Granada, autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain, roughly 150 kilometres (93 mi) from the provincial capital, Granada.
Phoenicia was an ancient thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-states extended and shrank throughout their history and they possessed several enclaves such as Arwad and Tell Sukas. The core region in which the Phoenician culture developed and thrived stretched from Tripoli and Byblos in northern Lebanon to Mount Carmel in modern Israel. At their height, the Phoenician possessions in the Eastern Mediterranean stretched from the Orontes River mouth to Ashkelon. Beyond its homeland, the Phoenician civilization extended to the Mediterranean from Cyprus to the Iberian Peninsula.
The Sphinx of Haches is an Iberian sculpture depicting a sphinx. It is exhibited at the Albacete Provincial Museum.
The Toritoof Porcuna is an Iberian sculpture depicting a bull. It shows orientalizing influences and it is also referred to as the toro orientalizante de Porcuna.
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