Statues (acroteria) were often positioned at the three corner points of a temple pediment; perhaps the torso was a statue of this kind. It may represent Nike (Victory) or Iris, the herald of the gods, as many acroteria do. But it is also possible that another mythological figure (Atalanta? Callisto? one of the Danaides?) was meant: the interpretation is made difficult by the statue’s fragmentary condition. The rank of the piece is shown by its material, the best quality marble (Parian lychnites), and also by its high esteem already in antiquity: the Basel Museum preserves a very similar, and more intact piece dating to the Roman period, which may have been modelled on this one.
Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the statue was made of Parian (Paros-Marathi) marble. Click here for the detailed results.