The island of Cyprus has a long and varied history owing to its unique location among the push and pull of both ancient and modern civilization. Mycenaean Greeks began inhabiting the island as early as the Bronze Age. Cyprus’ Greek name attests from this period through the increased Greek influence on the island throughout the following centuries.
Cyprus encountered its first major waves of settlement during the late Bronze Age when Greek traders began visiting the island around 1400 B.C.E. The Greek presence on Cyprus during this period is seen in the Cypriote arts and myths, as much of the culture was derived from the surrounding kingdoms. The region’s cultural influence went the other way as well: in Greek Mythology, Cyprus is said to be the birthplace of both Aphrodite and Adonis.
Cyprus’ strategic location and growing wealth made for quite the prize throughout antiquity. Assyrians and Persians both contested the island throughout the 1st millennium C.E., but it was Alexander the Great who placed Cyprus under permanent Greek rule in approximately 320 B.C.E.. Consequent centuries placed Cyprus under the dueling influences of Greece and the Turks, and it wasn’t until 1960 that Cyprus was granted full independence from each, yet with an outcome that has hardly resolved these long lasting disputes
The art history of Cyprus dates back nearly ten thousand years to a series of rudimentary carved figures found in the ancient villages of Khoirokoitia and Lempa. Later, Cypriote arts were directly influenced by Greek aesthetics, yet a number of designs and styles remained unique to the island’s particular culture. By the 1st millennium C.E. the melting pot of merchants and tradesman from across the region turned Cypriote arts into a blend of cultures and clashing pantheons, and through this mixture the people of the island began to identify as their own distinct culture. The wonderful objects on display at Baidun shop lay bare the fusion of Cyprus’ contested background. We invite you to see for yourself these rare objects that show the early vision of ancient Cypriote artists.