The Caryatid Hairstyling Project

Art History – The Caryatid Hairstyling Project

Image: Kore
Six Fairfield students pose in front of Bellarmine Hall
on April 26, 2009. Their elaborate hairstyles replicate
the ancient Caryatids from the South Porch of the
Erechtheion, a temple on the Athenian Acropolis.

In ancient Athens, female hairstyle was a distinctive symbol of status worn by women of high social rank and affluence when they appeared in public settings such as religious festivals.

Sculptures with elaborate female hairstyles or coiffures, unveiled and on display in the sacred and prominent location of the ancient Athenian Acropolis, invite an analysis of the preserved hairstyles to determine whether or not the sculptors invented an artistic convention or used real hairstyles of the day.

The Caryatid Hairstyling Project, spearheaded by Dr. Katherine Schwab, was conducted at Fairfield University in April, 2009. The project tested the reality or fantasy of these hairstyles by engaging student volunteers as models while a professional hairstylist recreated the individual hairstyles of the Erechtheion marble Caryatids or maidens (korai), which stand in place of columns in the South Porch.

The result? Confirmation that the marble Caryatids were closely modeled after real women of the day!


Next Steps

  1. View photos of the hairstyling
  2. Learn more about the Caryatids through our selected resources
  3. Purchase the companion DVDon this unique project as a learning tool for your school or institution. See a clip and purchase a copy of the DVD.
  4. Listen to an interview with Dr. Schwab on the project (Hellenic Public Radio, February 9, 2012)
  5. Upcoming and Past Events


The Caryatid Hairstyling Project Photos

Image: Kore
Image: KoreImage: Kore

Kore A
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Kore B
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Kore C
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Image: Kore
Image: KoreImage: Kore

Kore D
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Kore E
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Kore F
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The Caryatid Hairstyling Project and companion DVD have been generously funded by the Faculty Research Committee of Fairfield University, with additional support from the Classical Studies Program, the Art History Program, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, and The Humanities Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Related Information

Recommended Caryatid Resources | Caryatid Photo Gallery