Jerusalem A centuries-old statue of Venus, headless but vibrant with color and detail, went on display Wednesday at the Israel Museum, a decade after it was discovered in northern Israel.
The life-size marble work represents one of the most important discoveries of Roman sculpture in the world, said James Snyder, director of the museum.
The statue was discovered in 1993 in an ancient bathhouse during an archaeological dig in Beit Shean, a small city near the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. The Hebrew University archeologists who excavated the Venus sculpture uncovered several works also intended to decorate the lavish bathing area, including Dionysus, a goddess Athena, a headless emperor and a nymph.
With locks of hair curling around the collarbone of the headless sculpture, the figure is modeled after a stance called the “timid Venus,” particularly striking because the sculpture’s missing hands reveal parts of her body that the artist intended to partially hide. A winged Eros as a pudgy child riding a dolphin supports her left leg.
Archaeologist Gideon Foerster said the half-ton statue stood for 400 years. He and his colleagues believe the Venus was sculpted in the town of Aphrodisias in modern Turkey.
Dudi Mevorach, chief curator of the museum’s Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine exhibits, said the statue has the best-preserved color of any Roman-era sculptures discovered in the world.
Chinese arrest Catholic officials
Vatican City The Vatican said Saturday that Chinese authorities have carried out a new series of arrests of officials from that country’s non-government controlled Catholic Church.
The most recent arrest occurred Wednesday, when a priest was picked up in Hebei, the same diocese whose bishop was arrested Jan. 3.
The statement said security forces also detained the 86-year-old bishop of Wenzhou, Monsignor James Lin Xili, on March 20 and two days later a lay official of the diocese.
China broke ties with the Vatican in 1951 and demands that Catholics worship only in churches approved by the state-controlled church group, which does not recognize the pope’s authority. However, even state churches acknowledge the pope as a spiritual leader.
Wedding song to have short life
London A composer has written a one-minute fanfare celebrating the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles that will be played just once – during the ceremony.
Guests at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, where a blessing will take place right after the wedding next week, will be the first and last to hear the brief “Celebration Fanfare.”
Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott, 76, has written the 60 seconds of music to accompany the closely choreographed movements of Charles and Camilla as they exit the chapel.
The couple will be at the chapel after their civil wedding for a blessing presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The composer, a former professor of music at University College, Cardiff, has previously written pieces to mark the 16th birthday of Charles and his investiture as Prince of Wales.