Cybele with Patera, Lion & Tympanon


Nathalie Choubineh
published on 04 March 2021
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This terracotta figurine of Cybele depicts her seated on a throne with a lion on her lap. She wears a mural crown which symbolises her patronage over the city and its defensive walls. A patera (libation-bowl) and tympanon (hand-drum) are also depicted. As a queen goddess, Cybele was associated with lions who represent her reigning power and majesty. Lions can be seen in many extant seated figurines of this goddess, sometimes at her sides or feet, or drawing her chariot. The patera is another staple attribute in the iconography of Cybele statues, although the carving of the surface of this vessel here in the shape of an oxeye daisy is uncommon. The pronounced central button in this vessel overlaps with the terracotta paterai found in Crete and is a Minoan influence. The tympanon is held by the goddess as the essential creator of the ecstatic soundscape in her mysteries and their consisting cultic rites.

Attica, c. 350 BCE, Louvre Museum. Accession number: CA 1797.

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About the Author

Nathalie Choubineh
Nathalie is a translator and independent researcher of dance in the ancient world with a focus on Ancient Greece and the Near East. She has published works in ancient dance, ethnomusicology, and literature. She loves learning and sharing knowledge.

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APA Style

Choubineh, N. (2021, March 04). Cybele with Patera, Lion & Tympanon. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Choubineh, Nathalie. "Cybele with Patera, Lion & Tympanon." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 04, 2021.

MLA Style

Choubineh, Nathalie. "Cybele with Patera, Lion & Tympanon." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 04 Mar 2021. Web. 23 May 2024.