Often described as betwixt the Orient and the Occident, Cyprus is a meeting point for Asia, Europe and Africa.
Cyprus is the easternmost island in the Mediterranean Sea. Its safe harbours were of strategic importance, providing close connections to the Aegean, Anatolia, the Levantine coast and Egypt. Throughout history, the island has been militarily or economically dominated by Mediterranean superpowers: the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Ptolemies, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans and the British. The harbours also served as emporia for international maritime trade routes; for millennia this resource-rich island was exploited for copper, timber, wheat, olives and wine.
Over the 10,000 years of the island’s human occupation, a rich artistic tradition has been nurtured.
The objects displayed here show an island that developed a unique cultural identity, reflecting the civilisations surrounding it, but at the same time distinctively Cypriot. Working in clay, stone, metal and other materials, the makers of these objects not only created artefacts; they made Cyprus one of the cultural powerhouses of antiquity.
Featured image (top of the page), Bichrome III Ware duck shaped vessel; 950-750 BC, Cypro-Geometric III period.
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