Dama de Baza
limestone, 400 B.C.
Discovered in July 1971 in the province of Jaén (the capital city is also called Jaén), the Dama de Baza is representative of the Iberians’ fondness for elegant, elaborately adorned women. Measuring 4 feet tall and weighing nearly a ton, the Dama is robed and bejeweled, and her throne, with its wings and lion’s feet, is redolent of Greek sculpture. The Dama cradles a dove in her left hand, which has led some scholars to argue that she represents either the Phoenician goddess Astarte or the Punic goddess Tanit. She also has much in common with seated depictions of Persephone, the Greek goddess who traveled to the underworld every fall and returned to this world every spring. A cavity was carved out of the Dama’s side, suggesting that the sculpture was a funerary urn.