What is a Caryatid? Definition of the glossary term caryatid

Athenes Acropole Caryatides scaled

A Caryatid is a sculpted figure of a human female, used as a decorative column to support the entablature of a temple.

A caryatid is used as a decorative column of temple – image by speel.me.uk

Used in Greek architecture, it became far more common in the Renaissance. One of the most famous uses of Caryatids is on the Porch of the Maidens of the Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis.

Porch of the Maidens  Caryatids
Porch of the Maidens – image by wikimedia.org

It is thought that the Caryatids’ representations were taken from the people of Caryae, whose women were enslaved by the Athenians when the people sided with the Persians.


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