Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selcuk near west coast of Turkey

 

The Many-breasted Artemis of Ephesus, two angles;  From the sixth century BC, this is a Roman copy from ca. 200 AD.  Her names include Diana, Mistress of the Animals, Lady of the Beasts and Queen of Heaven.  Some claim that her body, fertile with many life forms, represents the Tree of Life.  The room enshrining this almost life-sized statue feels much like a temple, with the dramatically lit statue alone on a raised dais at the end of the room.  The nearby ancient Temple of Artemis, also in Selcuk, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The creatures on her dress include winged bulls, bees, angels and lions.  Scholars differ as to the meaning of the breast-like shapes on her chest.  The two animals at her side are thought to be in the cat family; panthers, jaguars or similar.  Coins of Ephesus showed Artemis with her arms resting on staffs of intertwined serpents, or on the "ourobouros".  The ourobouros is a serpent with its' tail in its' mouth, and is a symbol of infinity.

 

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