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The Maenad of Tetovo

One of the most important archaeological findings in Macedonia is a small bronze statue of a young dancing woman. It is so beautiful and significant that the National Bank of Macedonia decided to put it on the banknote of 5000 Macedonian denars issued in 1996. It also features on the coat of arms of Tetovo, the town where it was excavated. The famous Maenad of Tetovo, 9 cm long and 4 cm wide, used to decorate a large bronze cup. Alongside the golden masks, terracotta icons, and fresco paintings the Maenad of Tetovo has become a trademark of Macedonian rich cultural heritage. The figurine represents a character playing and dancing with her partner, a satire, in honour of the cult of the God Dionysus. The cup was used for mixing wine and water durng Dionysus rituals. The maenad dates back to the last decades of the 6th century B.C. It was the time when Greek culture exerted a strong influence on this part of the Balkans changing the way of living of the local population. It was these changes that marked the beginning of the Archaic period and the transition from the age of Prehistory to the age of History and Antiquity. On the archaeological plane these transformations are visible through the new materials, such as new types of pottery, jewellery and other handicrafts and new spiritual practices such cults of Greek gods and cremation instead of grave burial. In the beginning these practices were embraced by elites – the statuette from Tetovo was found in princely crypt – and later they spread to the whole population. Read more …