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La Dama de Elche (Lady of Elche):
In 1897 the Dama de Elche was discovered at L'Alcudia, an archaeological site on a private estate about 2 km south of Elche. Dating says that this polychrome bust is between 5th and 4th century B.C., and this is considered the prime masterpiece of Iberian art.
The bust is of a priestess of the local goddess. The bust is made of limestone and the statue is of a woman measuring about 56 cm. Some red color, blue and white paint remans on the lips of the statue, the veil and the tunic. It is covered with a vei, held together by a wide tiara encrusted with pearls, and held up by two large buns, which hide her braided hair. A shawl covers her shoulders and she wears three beautiful necklaces on her chest. She also wears bracelets. The woman has a serene and enigmatic gaze.
The French archaeologist Pierre Paris bought the statue when it was discovered and sent it to the Louvre, where it became the centerpiece of Iberian art. The government of Franco negotiated with the Vichy government to get back the statue in 1941. In return, it is said that the Spanish government gave the French some very valuable artwork by famous Spanish painters like Goya. What was exchanged remains a mystery today. The Dama de Elche is housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. Many times the Dama de Elche represents the country of Spain in the media.