Cyprus Museum

  General Remarks
The Cyprus Museum can be found in the Greek part of Nikosia (or Lefkosia, as the Turks call it). While its goodies are not in the same league as those in the museums in Athens, Rome or Istanbul, a visit is definitely worthwhile. As far as metal objects are concerned, it has quite a few, far more than the 8 museums in Rome combined that I visited in 2016.
However, if you hope to learn something about the Copper and Bronze industry that was so prominent in Cyprus from about 2500 BC to 500 AD, or about the role of Cyprus in pioneering iron, you will be disappointed. That is not to say that there aren't any artifacts concerning copper, bronze and iron, just that not much relates to the topics mentioned.
A few general points first:
  • The illumination is quite mixed. In some rooms it is rather good, in others it is abysmal.
  • The explanations are short but generally adequate.
  • There are even books about the museum with good pictures (a pleasant surprise!)
  • Taking pictures (no flash, of course) is allowed but a bit difficult since there are lots of reflections.
The museum is full of ceramics. One does find the usual Greek pots and so on but also unique and quite charming things (see below). Quite interesting are replicas of graves with the goodies still in there (including the owner), and cases that show ceramics from various times grouped around a common topic.
I will first present a bunch of pictures (plus some text) on non-metallic objects and then turn to the metal stuff. I will include some pictures from other museum on Cyprus when adequate.
 
  Some Non-Metallic Objects of General Interest (to Me)
The most spectacular exhibit is a group of 2000 terra-cotta figurines from the 6th and 7th century BC, found in the sanctuary of Ayia Irini. Sizes range from life-size to miniature, and the grouping reproduces the way the figurines were found. The pictures below can only give a weak impression of that breathtaking ensemble:
     
   
Cyprus; Ayia Irini figurines
Cyprus; Ayia Irini figurines
Cyprus; Ayia Irini figurines
Figurines deposited in the sanctuary of Ayia Irini. All but 2 are male,
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
The sanctuary was in use from about 1200 BC to 600 BC or so. It does remind one of places like Altötting in Bavaria, where (catholic) people deposit sculptures of bodies and body parts in the hope of a better future concerning the health of same.
Lots of things are of a charming naivete, outright playful or just funny (to us):
Cyprus Museum; Ceramics
Large version
Cyprus Museum; Ceramics
One more
Charming pots and ceramics. The top ones are from the "Bronze Age", the bottom ones from around 500 BC
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
Most everything was found in graves, and there are a few cool settings of of typical sepulchres containing the real artifacts including the remains of the owner:
     
Cyprus Museum; Grave replica
What a grave looked like. Note the (obviously valuable) bronze weapons
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
Here is an example of the topical exhibits mentioned above. The topics shown are is "Ritual" and "Warriors, Riders". Other topics are "Music; Dance or "Cult, Myth".
     
Of course the museum has a lot of stone and marble sculptures plus a few bronze ones. Some are rather good, the rest is often quite interesting if not of prime artistic value. Here are two highlights:
     
   
Cyprus Museum; Sculptures
Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (193 - 211 AD)
Aphrodite (my guess)
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
   
Last, a few examples of the topical exhibits mentioned above. The topics shown are "Warriors, Riders" and "Ritual". Other topics are "Music; Dance" or "Cult, Myth".
 
Cyprus Museum;
Warriors, Riders
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
   
Cyprus Museum; Ritual figurines
Ritual
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
     
  Some Metallic Objects
There is a big room full of metal objects, the picture below gives an idea:
     
Cyprus Museum; metals
Succession of cases with metal objects
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
We have very well preserved (Greek type) helmets and all kinds of vessels in the background. The we have the major show pieces:
Cyprus Museum; horned God
Famous "Horned God"
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
Cyprus Museum; "COpper" GOd
The "Copper" God, standing on an oxhide Copper ingot. 12th century BC
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
The museum does have (badly cast) oxhide ingots, sort of:
     
   
Cyprus Museum; miniature copper ingots
Miniature copper ingots. Toys for kids? Samples for the salesperson?
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
Of course we also find weapons typical for Cyprus:
     
   
Cyprus bronze sword
Typical "willow-leaf" shaped bronze weapons of Cyprus.
These beauties are from the ....
Source: Photographed in the in Oct. 2016
     
   
Cyprus Museum; weapons
Bronze weapons in the Cyprus Museum
Source: Photographed in the in Oct. 2016
     
  Nice but no match for what you find in "my" museum in Schleswig, Germany. While the Cypriots had the copper and made bronze in large quantities, the old Germans up north couldn't make those things but obviously were wealthy enough to buy the stuff in quantities, And that's why you find it there.
Future archaeologists will find lots of good stuff in Saudia Arabia and thereabout even so these guys cannot make a cell phone or a Mercedes. They will find very little at the places were cell phones were made. And where is that? Do you know?
     
More interesting perhaps than the weapons is the collection of bronze tools exhibited in the museum. Here are some examples:
     
Cyprus Museum; bronze tools
Cyprus Museum; bronze saws
Bronze tools
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
Then we have the pendant to the big bronze cauldron stand shown here. They also have a huge and showy bronze cauldron but I will not show this here.
Cyprus Museum; Bronze cauldron stand
Bronze cauldron stand
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
     
How about iron? The following pictures shows the (almost) complete collection:
     
 
Cyprus Museum; iron akinake
"Roman Sword", Iron (2nd - 3rd century AD)
Source: Photographed in the Cyprus Museum in Oct. 2016
   
To conclude: If you make it to Cyprus, go see the museum. Watch out for the details! It is definitely good for a few hours of pleasurable education and good fun.
   

With frame With frame as PDF

go to Critical Museum Guide

go to Critical Museum Guide: Landesmuseum Schleswig-Holstein in Schleswig, Germany

go to 10.1.5 Copper Final

go to Large Pictures III

go to Large Pictures III

go to The Cyprus Copper and Bronze Industry

© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)