Parian marble

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Head of Aphrodite
MFA# 03.743


A pure white, sugary-grain, translucent Marble with large shiny Calcite crystals. Since the 2nd millennium BCE, Parian marble has been quarried on the Isle of Paros at sites located in the central area near the village of Marathi. Parian marble was used for sculpture and buildings. Variations have been classified based on grain size as well as isotopic and trace element compositions (Attanasio 2003): - Type I: fine to medium grain, lustrous warm white, used in classical times - Type II: medium to large grain - Type III: medium to large grain

Synonyms and Related Terms

Pyros marble; Paros marble; hard Grechetto; lichnites; Parischer Marmor (Deut.)

Resources and Citations

  • Donato Attanasio, Mauro Brilli, Neil Ogle, The Isotopic Signature of Classical Marbles, L'Erma di Bretschneider, Roma, 2006: Website
  • Donato Attanasio, Ancient White Marbles. Analysis and Characterization by PRS, L'Erma di Bretschneider, Roma, 2003: Website
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Luciana and Tiziano Mannoni, Marble: the history of a culture, Facts on File Publications
  • Janet Burnett Grossman, Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2003