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caryatid(kăr'ēăt`ĭd, kăr`ēətĭd'), a sculptured female figure serving as an ornamental support in place of a column or pilaster. It was a frequently used motif in architecture, furniture, and garden sculpture during the Renaissance, the 18th cent., and notably, the classic revivalclassic revival,
widely diffused phase of taste (known as neoclassic) which influenced architecture and the arts in Europe and the United States during the last years of the 18th and the first half of the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. of the 19th cent., when caryatids were popular as mantelpiece supports. The motif appeared in Egyptian and Greek architecture; the most celebrated example extant is the Porch of the Caryatids, forming part of the ErechtheumErechtheum
[for Erechtheus], Gr. Erechtheion, temple in Pentelic marble, on the Acropolis at Athens. One of the masterpieces of Greek architecture, it was constructed between c.421 B.C. and 405 B.C. to replace an earlier temple to Athena destroyed by the Persians.
..... Click the link for more information. . Here six beautifully sculptured figures, acting as columns, support an entablature on their heads; the original figures are now in the Acropolis Museum. Caryatids were used also in two small treasuries (6th cent. B.C.) at Delphi. Male supporting figures are called atlantesatlantes
[Latin plural of Atlas], sculptured male figures serving as supports of entablatures, in place of a column or pier. The earliest (c.480–460 B.C.) and most important example from antiquity is in the Greek temple of Zeus at Agrigento, Sicily.
..... Click the link for more information. .
(from the Greek karyatides, literally, the priestesses of the Temple of Artemis at Caryae, in Laconia, ancient Greece), in architecture, the sculptural representation of a standing female figure, serving as the support of a beam. Sometimes the figure only gives the impression of fulfilling a supportive function and simply serves as a decoration of the actual support. Caryatids were widely used in ancient Greek and Roman architecture, as well as in European architecture of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.