This sculpture is known as the Peplophoros kore, a well-known kore from the Athenian acropolis that was crafted around 530 BCE. The kore was once elaborately decorated, painted with intricate detailing on her garments in bright colors and she wore a wreath of precious metals. Despite her lack of movement, there is detail in the folds of her garb revealing her feminine form beneath. It was customary for females to be shown completely clothed in contrast with the heroic nudity in the portrayal of males. Since her form isn’t overtly feminine, there is a delicacy and softness in her depiction to emphasizes her femininity.
The korai found at the Acropolis were considered votive offerings, dedicated to the Goddess Athena, though it was not their only purpose. They were also used as dedications in sanctuaries, and as funeral monuments, (Biers, 1996). Korai have specific features that define them as Archaic sculptures: the wide almond shaped eyes, the ethereal “Archaic smile,” along with a defined stance and structural type makes it seem as though they were all just slight variations of the same template. It is often thought that they are simply generalizations of the ideal female form, straying from the unique portrayal of the individual. However, the subtle changes and variations are what prove the contrary: they are an attempt to depict the individual and emphasize the realism of the sculpture. (Strieber, 2003).
No two korai are the same. Although they all meet the archaic specifications and have almost identical expressions, each kore has different drapery, colorings, jewelry, and hairstyles.The reason being that there wasn’t much variation in the form, and so the way they are styled in the only place for individual expression. Korai, much like Kouroi, were the ideal versions of the women they represented. They became and epitomized version of the young women at the time, in their prime of youth and dressed in lavish garments and jewels, (Steidl, 2011). This then became the idealized beauty, the kalokagathia, not just an outer beauty as their clothes depict, but an inner one as well.
The Archaic period was a time for self-aggrandizement and a push for the rise of the individual in the midst of the changes Greece was undergoing. This was often portrayed through ostentatious showings of wealth and power to stand out from the crowd. Korai were a way to depict the ideal forms of women and show off their wealth and power, adorning extravagant clothing with coifed hair, laden with precious metals, (Biers, 1996). Kalokagathia is shown through these idealized depictions of these individuals, that these women were the “beautiful and good”. This implies, however, that the only ones who attained this status of embodying kalokagathia were those who had the money to do so. Those who were able to portray themselves in this way were not only proving their aristocratic status, but also showing themselves off as the embodiment of these admirable qualities. Kalokagathia then becomes more than just a term defining simply what is “good,” but what virtues are deemed important in the eyes of the society. Korai were more than just statues of individuals, they were a rebellion against becoming faceless in the democratic climate of Archaic Greece, and a show of the heightened status of the elites in society, (Stieber, 2003). This heightened status was one of more than just power and wealth, but of what was virtuous.