The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

A young boy steadies a blind lyre-player, in this 3-inch-high bronze statuette, probably from Crete. The figurine dates to the early seventh-century B.C., not long after the bard we call Homer transformed stories from Greek oral tradition into the continuous narratives of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

According to ancient tradition, Homer was a blind singer—which prompts author Carol Thomas to make the intriguing suggestion that this statue may have been cast to honor Homer himself, the greatest Greek singer/storyteller of the time.