The artifacts had originally been excavated from Cyprus between 1955 and 1961 after the famous James Stewart’s expeditions to Cyprus.2 Despite being a professor of archeology at Sydney University, James Stewart received significant support for his archeological expeditions from the University of Melbourne. As a result, the expeditions were largely known as Melbourne Cyprus Expeditions and many artefacts such as Cypriot Bichrome III equestrian figurine were later allocated to the University of Melbourne.
Historically, figurines of horses mounted with riders were particularly common in during the cyproarchaic II periods. Cyprus the origin of the figurines is a Mediterranean island situated south of Turkey, Easy of Greece, North of Egypt and west of Syria and Lebanon3. Equestrian figurines are small sculptures of horses and their riders. Generally, similar historic artifact of equestrian figurines like the one currently housed in the university of Melbourne art collection have been found in various sanctuaries and tombs belonging to stone age Cyprus societies4.
It is widely believed that during the antiquities (particularly between 600 and 475 BCE), little figures were commonly left by worshippers at sanctuaries as part of the offerings of the ancient Cypriots to their gods and goddesses5. However, it was expensive to own a horse during the cypro achaic II period and it is only probable that the figurines like the cypriot Bichrome III equestrian sculpture may have been left by the wealthy and nobles who may have wanted to emphasize how important or wealthy they were.
Sagona, A., ‘Horse and rider figurine’, in C. McAuliffe and P. Yule, Treasures: Highlights of the Cultural Collections of the University of Melbourne, The Miegunyah Press: Carlton, 2003, pp. 134– ...