In the second half of the 7th century the Greeks became aware of the sculpture of Egypt and were moved to make life size, and larger, figures in hard white marble, which they worked with iron tools (unlike the Egyptians who used abrasion only). The marble was from the Cyclades islands (in the 6th century from other sources, including Attica), where the earliest examples are found. There are two main types - the kouroi, who are naked males (at best, belted) standing with one foot forward, hands to sides:

Kouros from Tenea

- and the korai, who are dressed women. They serve as dedications and grave markers. Each type serves to demonstrate the development of sculptural style through the rest of the archaic period.

Kore from Athens Acropolis

There are regional variations that can be discerned too - the rather heavy Attic kouroi, the slim, round-headed Ionian, the sleek Cycladic.

Head of kouros from the Dipylon
  • Head of a kouros from the Dipylon, Athens. About 600 BC
    Cast No. B005
Head of kouros from Samos

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