The discovery of the Lady of Elche

The Lady of Elche, found in La Alcudia, is one of the most famous sculptures in the world. Currently it is kept in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.

On wednesday the 4th August, a fourteen-years-old boy, Manuel Campello found a stone. When he removed it, a face bust showed up.

The sale

The 11th August arrived to the city the french archaeologist Pierre Paris to attend to the performances of the Misteri, invited by the municipal archivist and chronicler Pedro Ibarra. Finally the bust was sold for 5,200 pesetas.

Back to Spain

After its short time in Elche in 1965, for 14 days because of an exhibition of Iberian culture, the Lady was moved to the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. Due to the inauguration of the MAHE ( Archaeological and History Museum of Elche ), the bust was almost six months back to its hometown, where the Lady of Elche was valued at 15 million euros, for the insurance.

The sculpture

The origin of the stone indicates that the sculpture was made in La Alcudia, the author could have been both a foreign Iberian or a sculptor.

The Lady of Elche is a bust cuted in sandstone from the local quarry “Danger”. When the bust was found, it preserved traces of red, blue and white paint decorating her lips, the mantilla and the mantle.

She is 56-centimetre-height and the perimeter of her shoulders and chest 115 centimetres, actual size proportions. In her back it is seen a cavity of 18 centimetre in diameter and 16 in depth, whose purpose is still unknown.