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Statue Of Persephone

Statue (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Statue Of Persephone

Classification Statue (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Maiden Stone

Canmore ID 274091

Site Number NJ72SW 207

NGR NJ 70277 24764

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/274091

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Chapel Of Garioch
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Gordon
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Maiden Stone and Persephone, 8th century AD, and 1961, Shaun Crampton. The salmon-pink granite monolith known as the Maiden Stone was erected by the Picts in the eighth century AD at the time when Christianity was filtering into the north-east. It bears, Janus-like, a series of vivid symbols, carved in relief, and, on the other face, a round-headed cross, set between a possible calvary scene and a great roundel filled with interlace. The symbols, which are vigorously carved in relief and include a beast or dolphin, mirror and comb, look back to the powerful range of animal and object symbols

used as a kind of heraldry on memorial stones in the two previous centuries. The cross side indicates its use as a preaching site during the conversion of the Picts.

The notch out of the northern edge of the stone has fed a legend concerning the daughter of the laird of Balquhain who was baking bannocks on her wedding day and bet a stranger that she could finish her task before he had built a road to the top of Bennachie, 'ere she would become his own'. Being the Devil, he won: she took to her heels and, in answer to her prayers, was turned to stone as he caught her, the notch being the spot where he grasped her.

The wonderfully monumental statue of Persephone, carved from 8.5 tons of millstone grit, which stands in a glade 100m to the west of the Maiden Stone, is a distant echo of the legend; in Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Ceres, the goddess of corn and harvest. She was carried off to the underworld by Pluto, the god of death, to be his wife, but Jupiter, king of the gods, decreed that she should return on condition that she had eaten no food in the underworld. Because she had eaten the seeds of a pomegranate, she was allowed to spend only six months of each year with her mother. Her time in the underworld stands for the grain which for half the year is below the ground, but on her return the corn springs up and grows. The splendidly sensual statue is carrying a mirror in reference to the Maiden Stone.

Taken from "Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie - An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press http://www.rias.org.uk

Archaeology Notes

NJ72SW 207 70277 24764

Statue [NAT]

OS (GIS) Master Map, August 2010.

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