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The Lady of Cerro de los Santos

With her big hair, wide staring eyes, fierce femininity, and air of the supernatural, this intriguing sculpture on display at the National Museum of Archeology in Madrid could almost be the doppelganger of the queen of gothic rock and postpunk, Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees. In reality, it is a rare depiction of a wealthy woman from ancient Iberia, dating back to the 3rd or 2nd century BC.

Unlike the bewitching “Lady of Elche” figure also displayed at the museum, the Lady of Cerro de los Santos does not portray a goddess but rather an aristocrat. Sculpted carrying a vase that contains an offering to the gods, probably of wine or honey, she is a rare depiction of a mortal woman, giving an important indication of how female members of the ancient Iberian nobility would likely have dressed and worshipped.

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