When Christianity took over as the religion of the Greeks many temples began to be used as churches. The insides of these buildings were redecorated to suit new tastes. But in many case the decorations remained or were only slightly modified. A good example of this practice was the expropriation of statues of goddesses as statues of angels. Today the image of an angel is often merely a copy of such a statue.
These resin statues of angels made in China have the iconography of ancient Greek Goddesses.
The flowing gown of the angel is a chiton or peplos. The lyre is an ancient Greek instrument. Doves and Geese are symbols of Aphrodite. And of course the pouring water is reference to the fact that Aphrodite was born from the foam. Nike is more likely to have been portrayed as a woman with wings but would have a wreath or torches. The following is more like a statue of Nike. If you consider the object she holds as a torch then the iconograpy fits Nike.
An angel like the image of Nike by Today Treasures Inc. (c)1995.
An angel figure from China in porcelain using symbols of Aphrodite
The following images of Greek goddesses with wings are available:
- Poine, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- Nike, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
- Eris, Antikensammlung,
- Eos, University Museums, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, USA
- Erinnys, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- Atrapos, mirror from Perugia, about 320 BC. Berlin, Antiquarium
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Angels, Shapes of the Goddesses
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